The History of Energy Drinks


Energy -- the ability to do work.


Be it weightlifting, writing, lighting, or working, our ability to do anything is directly tied to energy. Without sufficient energy, you don’t have the motivation, desire, or ability to get off the couch and work.


Energy is needed more than ever in today’s constant state of “go, go, go” for transportation, lighting, farming, and most importantly, our bodies. To further compound the problem, energy is in short supply. It can’t be created (or destroyed); it’s only transferred from one form to another, which essentially means you need to convert energy from one form to another in order to get any benefit from it.


Case in point, food. It’s packed with energy (in the form of calories). To get the energy your mind and muscles need to run at full steam, you eat the food, and your body breaks it down, and that stored energy in the food is then converted into usable energy for your body. However, given the hectic, stressful nature of life, people have less time to sit and eat and even less time to cook.


To solve this energy and time-crunch crisis, more and more people are turning to energy drinks to fuel their on-the-go lifestyle. Energy drinks provide the instantaneous energy we need to get moving and grooving no matter how low our batteries are.


What form of energy are energy drinks providing?


Stimulants, and lots of them.


Energy drinks are chock full of potent stimulants that energize your mind and body and help you get to doing what needs to be done, ASAP. It should come as no surprise that energy drinks have become insanely popular for their rapid infusion of motivation and drive with all ages, young and old. Believe it or not, we’ve seen young teenagers chugging energy drinks (though we’d never recommend that!).


Yes, energy is in high demand these days, and as such, the energy drink market is bigger and more competitive than ever. But how did energy drinks get their start?


What was the first real “energy drink” as we know it today?


Let’s take a look at the history of energy drinks to learn its origins and where it may be heading in the very near future.


Early Beginnings of the Energy Drink


While the prototypical “energy drink” as we know it today is a somewhat recent invention, in reality, people have been seeking energy “fixes” for centuries. Prior to Christopher Columbus discovering America, natives consumed a dark brew of roasted holly leaves and bark, which they subsequently vomited shortly after. It was never determined whether the vomiting was self-induced or caused by consuming the beverage, but the drink was used as part of a purification ritual prior to battle, political councils, and religious ceremonies.


The reason they were consuming the toasted dark brew had to do with the fact that it was packed with caffeine. Some historians have been able to trace these home brewed energy drinks as far back as 1250 AD. When you also consider the fact that tea and coffee have been consumed for several hundred years, it’s pretty evident that man has always had a “thing” for any beverage that would provide a spark in energy.


But, that’s not really the kind of energy drink we’re talking about. Yes, coffee, tea, yerba mate, and hell, even cocaine have been used for hundreds of years for their stimulative qualities, but those are what we call “naturally occurring” energy drinks (i.e. ones not made and sold by beverage companies).


The type of energy drinks we’re talking about are the kinds brewed up in a lab and then packaged into all kinds of flashy looking cans and bottles. So, with that in mind let’s get to discussing the first real energy drink to ever hit the market, which surprisingly enough has to do with cocaine.


Coca-Cola the OG Energy Drink


The first “energy drink” as we know it today is also the most well-known soft drink on the planet -- Coca Cola. In its original incarnation, Coca-Cola actually contained two stimulants, caffeine and cocaine.


Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, which explains the “coca” portion of the name Coca-Cola. “Cola” is derived from kola nut, a source of caffeine.


The energy drink first debuted in 1886, and the original recipe for Coca-Cola used five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup. That seems like a lot, which is probably why later recipes of Coca-Cola only used a tenth of that amount. It wasn’t until 1903 that cocaine was completely removed from the Coca-Cola formula.


Energy Drinks Evolve




After the debut of Coke in the late 1800s, the next evolution of the energy drink didn’t come until 1927 when a chemist named William Owen first created Glucozade. For several years, Owen was in search for a way to increase the energy levels of his patients suffering from the flu. The formula he developed contained 46mg of caffeine and an astounding 37% of the recommended daily amount of sugar.


Owen sold the formula under the name Glucozade to hospitals in the United Kingdom, but subsequently changed the name to Lucozade in 1929 with the slogan of “Lucozade aids recovery.” In 1983, Lucozade underwent a bit of a rebrand and updated its slogan to say “Lucozade replaces lost energy.” As a result of the rebrand, Lucozade saw sales triple over the next six years!


Enuf is Enough


The next stop on the energy drink timeline is 1949 with the introduction of Dr. Enuf. Created by Chicago businessman William Mark Swartz, Dr. Enuf was a soft drink packed with vitamins (in addition to a lot of sugar, 46g grams to be exact) to compete against the sugar and caffeine only sodas of the day.


Dr. Enuf was billed as the “original energy booster” by it creators and frequently described as “Manna from Heaven.”[4] The formula contained a host of B vitamins, caffeine, and cane sugar, all of which are ingredients commonly used in many of today’s most popular energy drinks.


Swarz partnered with Tennessee beverage company Tri-Cities Beverage, who also produced Mountain Dew, to bottle and distribute Dr. Enuf, which it still does to this very day. All bottles of Dr. Enuf contain at least 80% of the RDA of thiamine (Vitamin B1), niacin (Vitamin B3), potassium, and iodine. Dr. Enuf also comes in several herbal varieties that contain ginseng and guarana, two other common ingredients in today’s energy drinks.


Energy Drinks of the 60s and 70s


Energy drinks received they’re next big push forward in 1960 when Taisho pharmaceuticals makes the first Japanese energy drink called Lipovitan. While it was initially sold as a medical drink, Lipovitan was marketed to enhance mental and physical fatigue.


Lipovitan was sold in brown glass medicine bottles bottles and the drink itself was bright yellow, containing 3,000mg of taurine (another prominent energy drink ingredient), along with caffeine and sugar. Interestingly enough, while the largest bottles of Lipovitan contain a whopping 3 grams of taurine, the bottles actually have a warning to not consume more than 100mg of the ingredient in a day.


Flash forward to 1976, and we encounter the predecessor to today’s Red Bull in Krating Daeng. Alternatively referred to as “Thai Red Bull”, Kratingdaeng hit the scene in 1976, and can still be found across Europe and North America to this very day.


The beverage was sweet, but not carbonated, and contained caffeine, taurine, and a host of B Vitamins, just like today’s energy drinks. Kratingdaeng got its name from a species of wild cattle known as gaur.


In case you didn’t catch that... “wild cattle” is eerily similar to Red Bull, and kratingdaeng did indeed serve as the basis for the energy drink that would ignite the industry in the 1990s.


Birth of a Legend


Energy drink history was forever changed in 1982 when Dietrich Mateschitz visited Thailand. Then the marketing director for German toothpaste company Blendez, Mateschitz popped open a can of Kratingdaeng noticed a remarkable increase in energy, mood, and sense of well-being.


Mateschitz had an epiphany and realized that Krating Daeng could be a cure-all for people suffering from low energy levels. He met with Chaleo Yoovidhya, the creator of Krating Daeng, to develop a drink similar to the Thai sensation, but more apropos for the Western palate.


Together, the pair licensed the name Red Bull and launched the drink in 1987. They would go on to make billions with their energy-enhancing elixir.


The 90s Scene


Though it launched in 1987, Red Bull didn’t hit the shores of the United States until 1997, and it took off like wildfire. Fueled by a mix of caffeine, taurine, B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12), sucrose, and glucose, Red Bull was the high energy solution to people suffering fatigue from their crazy hectic lifestyles. Sure, people had their coffee, tea, and sodas before, but nothing packed the concentrated dose of energy quite like Red Bull, and it sold and sold and sold.


As with all things that make a mark, imitators soon followed. Rockstar was introduced in 2001 and in 2002, Hansen Natural created Monster Energy Drink, which is now owned by Coca-Cola of all people![5] In an effort to differentiate themselves from the pint-sized Red Bull, the two newcomers opted for a 16 oz can and marketed itself as "twice the size of Red Bull for the same price!"


Then, in 2004, the energy drink market decided to shrink things down with the introduction of the gas station favorite, 5-Hour Energy. Developed by Manoj Bhargava, 5-Hour Energy was miniaturized specifically so as not to go head-to-head with the energy drink dynamo that was Red Bull. The move was simply brilliant, as 5-Hour Energy can now be found right next to the cash register at most stores, unlike most other energy drinks which are in refrigerated cases or in the beverage aisle.


2005 saw the introduction of the extremely controversial Four Loco, distributed by Phusion Pharmaceuticals, which contained a mix of alcohol and caffeine, two things that should never really be mixed, along with taurine, guarana, and wormwood. Following several “issues”, Four Loco was pulled from shelves and eventually reintroduced to the market sans caffeine in 2010.


Between 2005 and 2006 is when energy drinks really boomed and sales had increased 61% since Red Bull’s introduction to U.S. markets in 1997. Though competition was increasing, Red Bull still manages to rake in over two billion dollars in sales globally.


Energy Drinks in the Present Day


Nowadays, people are still thirsting for energy in its most readily accessible form, and in this era of hyper-health consciousness, the days of sugar-fueled energy drinks are on the decline. In its place are low calorie or calorie free energy drinks that bring all the energy (and more!) without the wasted calories on simple sugars that do nothing but lead to energy crashes and unwanted fat gain.


Newcomers to the scene in recent years include BANG (October 2012), which debuted with a jaw-dropping 357mg caffeine per 16oz can and later dialed back to 300mg, and other sophomoric entries such as Cocaine, Pussy, and Venom. With each new entry, came new flavors, new energy blends, and new names, but alas consumers want more from their energy drink.


Yes, they still want energy, but they don’t want to be slammed in the face with a mack truck of caffeine all at once, and they certainly don’t want the truckload of sugar that most energy drinks come with either. They also don’t want to have to shell out upwards of $3 a can just to get some much needed energy either.


This has left the consumer in a severe energy drink conundrum. Where can they turn for all day energy, without the expense in money or calories?


EAA Max Energy -- The Future of Energy Drinks


EAA Max Energy is the future of energy drinks. It packs all of the energy with none of the insane cost or horrendous crash of typical energy drinks. Each serving of EAA Max supplies a sustained release of energy that promotes all day long focus, alertness, and motivation.


Even better, is that EAA Max Energy can be mixed to your flavor preferences.  Unlike other energy drinks that come in a “one size must fit all” approach, EAA Max Energy is powder-based, allowing you to add as much (or as little) water to suit your particular tastes.


Speaking of taste, EAA Max Energy offers unparalleled flavoring. No longer do you have to suffer the sickly sweet medicinal taste of convenience store energy drinks. EAA Max Energy is sweet, refreshing, and above all delicious. It’s great over ice, or casually mixed in room temperature water.


Best of all, EAA Max Energy comes with a full complement of essential amino acids (EAAs) to support muscle repair and growth, improving not only your energy levels, but your recovery from your busy lifestyle and hardcore training as well.


EAA Max Energy is incredibly affordable, costing a fraction of what other energy drinks do, and travels well. Simply toss your tub of EAA Max Energy into your gym bag, desk at work, or in the backseat of your car so whenever your mind and muscles need fuel NOW they have it!


Energy drinks have come along way in the past 100+ years, but the real history of energy drinks begins now with EAA Max Energy!





  1. Grósz, A., & Szatmári, A. (2008). The history, ingredients and effects of energy drinks. Orvosi hetilap (Vol. 149).

  2. Bigard, A.-X. (2010). [Risks of energy drinks in youths]. Archives de pediatrie : organe officiel de la Societe francaise de pediatrie, 17(11), 1625–1631.