When days are long, and the demands of the world tend to deplete energy, more people are reaching for a bottle of energy drink to increase alertness, attention and vigour. But as you reach for that bottle of a seemingly magic potion, have you ever wondered how it came to be? Now you’re curious? Read on and let’s recall the history of energy drinks.
Post-World War II Japan gave birth to the contemporary energy drink. Taisho Pharmaceuticals manufactured Lipovitan D in 1962. It is described as a herbal “energising tonic” offered in minibar sized bottles. While it resembled cough syrups in appearance, smell, and taste, Lipovitan D is largely regarded as the first contemporary energy drink and was promoted to truck drivers and factory workers who needed to stay awake for long shifts.
Taurine is one of the components in Lipovitan. Contrary to common beliefs, taurine is not derived from bull sperm or pee, but rather from a sulfur-containing amino acid with antioxidant qualities. It’s a crucial ingredient in most energy drinks these days, including Red Bull.
In 1976, an energy drink called Krating Daeng was launched as an energy drink containing caffeine, taurine, and B vitamins. It bore the logo many are familiar with today. Chaleo Yoovidhya, the originator of Krating Daeng chose to feature a number of elements in the drink’s emblem: the bull for its strength, the colour red for tenacity, and the sun in the background to represent vitality. Krating Daeng and along with other energy drinks soon became popular in the Asian culinary market after becoming known among Japanese executives in the 1980s.
When Austrian chemist and businessman Dietrich Mateschiz visited Bangkok he was suffering from jet lag, so he took some Krating Daeng and discovered that it relieved his symptoms. He was just astounded by the tonic’s results and collaborated with Krating Daeng’s producers in 1984 to introduce the brand to a global audience.
Krating Daeng was called Red Bull and swept across Europe. Red Bull became an overnight sensation due to the combination of caffeine, taurine, and carbonation. The energy drink became especially popular among college students who needed to remain up in order to study or party. Red Bull capitalised on its popularity on college campuses by sponsoring parties and other activities such as extreme sports contests in an effort to keep things youthful and hip.
By the early 2000s, energy drinks became ubiquitous. Brands start appearing left and right.
In August 1997, Red Bull’s competitor in Australia, V energy drink was first introduced in New Zealand. Its contents are typical of most energy beverages, including B vitamins, caffeine, taurine, and carbonated water. What distinguishes V is its not-so-secret ingredient: guarana. Guarana has one of the highest caffeine contents found in nature. This means that if guarana is added to caffeine, the caffeine’s effects will be enhanced.
V was introduced in Australia two years later in 1999 and then became one of the most well-known energy beverages in the Australian market today. Their distinctive bright green cans are easily identified and remembered.
Rockstar Energy Drink is a global energy drink market standard and a key player in the Australian energy drink scene. It is available in over 20 flavours and in over 30 countries.
Rockstar contains Panax ginseng, ginkgo Biloba, milk thistle extract, and guarana seed in addition to caffeine and sugar. The brand said Rockstar ‘is created for those who lead active lifestyles – from Athletes to Rockstars’. They support festivals, sporting events, athletes, and other causes. Fans and influencers flood their website and social media. This has solidified its position not only in the Australian energy drink business, but also in the global market. Rockstar, like V, is distributed by Frucor drinks, a household name in the Australian and New Zealand energy drink market.
Hansen’s Natural was the original creator of Monster Energy Drinks. According to Fortune, Hansen’s was created in the 1930s as a family-run business that began by producing fruit drinks. They claimed that their drinks contained only natural ingredients and were safe for consumption. Though the company experimented with sodas in the 1970s, they remained committed to their initial objective of creating natural products.
The company took a surprising turn when they decided to experiment with Monster Energy Drinks and introduced the line in 2002. As the energy drink market began to take off, the company wanted to achieve more popularity and brand awareness – a goal they achieved with Monster. Monster was incredibly popular when it first released, and the company’s revenues surged over their forecasts, reaching $1.7 billion per year.