The Mysterious History of Energy Drinks Explored

The Mysterious History of Energy Drinks Explored

Energy drinks have been picking up in popularity for some time now, and can be found anywhere from your local watering hole to major sports events.

With more and more varieties lining the supermarket aisles seemingly everyday, it’s evident that the energy drink market has found its way into the mainstream.

But where did it all begin? 

Humble Roots in Japan

The quintessential energy drink as we know it made its debut in Japan in 1962 when a pharmaceutical company called Taisho introduced Lipovitan D, an herbal ‘energizing’ tonic with a resemblance to cough syrup sold in pocket-sized 100ml bottles.

The recipe contains a blend of vitamins, caffeine and sugar, but mainly it’s key ingredient: An amino acid called taurine. 

Standing in for amphetamines, which had been recently banned in Asia in the 50s, Lipovitan D found its niche with truck drivers and factory workers with long shifts. This template paved the way for new manufacturers to enter the market, notably one called Krating Daeng, which soon became a craze among young professionals and businessmen. 

The Red Boom

It wouldn’t be until two decades later that energy drinks became an international phenomenon, however, when a jet-lagged Austrian marketing executive picked up a bottle of Krating Daeng on a business trip to Bangkok. 

Thoroughly impressed and convinced of its global potential, Dietrich Mateschiz subsequently quit his high-level job to partner with the company in expanding their product to the European market.

 Equipped with a tweaked new recipe, signature can container, and a brand new name, Krating Daeng (translating roughly to “red guar”) was introduced in Europe as [you know who] in 1985, then in the United States in 1997. 

The Y2K Energy Craze

At the turn of the century, a new wave of energy drink brands began popping up across Europe and America, with the two other “big ones” rising to the top as competitors to the previously uncontested leader in the market, “You Know Who”.

In 2004, a former Indian monk designed a two-ounce energy shot, which marked a return to its roots in its concentrated form and popularity among long-shift workers. 

Shortly after, existing for only a blip in history yet still worthy of mention is “3+1 Loko”, an alcoholic energy drink brainstormed by three Ohio University graduates. The first official producer of its kind, the boozy pick-me-up was a hit on college campuses everywhere, but was banned later that year due to the dangers of mixing caffeine and alcohol. 

A New Lease on Energy

Today, you’ll find dozens of options in the energy drink department in stores and online, all claiming to be superior in their own way to stand out amongst the rest. As any diligent consumer will know, however, the place to look for the so-called ‘secret sauce’ is simply on the back of the can. While energy drinks remain unregulated by the FDA, everything you need to know about the contents is in the ingredients list. 

After a little digging and research you might notice that many brands, even the major ones, manage to pack their products with unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals.

This doesn’t have to be the case.

More conscious producers of energy drinks like VISO Energy offer cleaner, premium beverages with caffeine extracted from organic coffee beans, organic cold-pressed fruit juices, and a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and adaptogens - all free of artificial ingredients and GMO’s.

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