Red Bull continues to dominate the energy drink market. The company leads in market share and produces almost 7 billion cans of its products each year. Its branding is seen across the globe at a variety of events including races, concerts, and self-produced competitions.
The drink was based on an existing product being sold in Thailand called Krating Daeng. An Austrian entrepreneur named Dietrich Mateschitz enjoyed it so much he knew he had to expand its reach. Red Bull was born that day and, after some slight alterations to the original ingredients, ended up being mass-marketed in many corners of the world.
The history of Red Bull is certainly unique but there are plenty of interesting facts about the drink and brand today. Here are 15 things you need to know about Red Bull.
1. The inspiration for Red Bull was quite sweet.
Krating Daeng was used as a “pick me up” for Thai truck drivers as their shifts grew long. Dietrich Mateschitz understood it would probably be too sweet for those outside Thailand and subsequently changed the ingredient list slightly. Some important holdovers from the inspiration - caffeine and taurine.
2. Some unfortunate rumors once led to a German ban on Red Bull.
Unlike Coca-Cola, Red Bull has never contained cocaine as an ingredient. Like most rumors, the cocaine stories were based on misunderstood facts. Red Bull uses coca leaves for flavoring but removes the properties of cocaine before their use. The German government went on to test several samples and determined the product was safe for its citizens to continue drinking.
3. Most negative health impacts from Red Bull are due to extreme over-consumption.
There have been several stories disparaging the brand for its perceived health risks. In most cases, the evidence used against Red Bull is based on people who consume ridiculous amounts of the energy drink. For the record, Red Bull suggests no more than five of its 250 ml cans per day.
4. Overindulging in Red Bull has led to exportation.
In a wild display of too much Red Bull, a Korean student attending University in Canada was expelled and deported due to a caffeine-related outburst in the cafeteria. The student was reportedly drinking over 600 mg of caffeine a day for quite some time before the conniption.
5. Red Bull came up with the “influencer” model before Instagram was a thing.
The Red Bull entrepreneur, Dietrich Mateschitz, came up with an idea that sounds eerily similar to the Instagram Influencers of today. He sought to find the most popular students at big universities and paid them to drink Red Bull and promote it at parties. I wonder if they called home to tell their parents that they got a new part-time job going to parties?
6. Jet lag was a good thing for once.
If it had not been for the significant fatigue felt by founder Dietrich Mateschitz, he would have never tasted the inspiration for Red Bull: Krating Daeng. After that fateful taste, he insisted on meeting with creator Chaleo Yoovidhya and discussing the opportunity to spread his drink around the world.
7.The wings thing got a little extreme.
Everyone has heard the brand’s iconic phrase, “Red Bull gives you wings.” Well, it gave Felix Baumgartner a balloon. The daredevil rode a helium-filled balloon over 24 miles into the air and jumped out of it! He would rocket back toward Earth at a speed fast enough to break the sound barrier. Fortunately, Red Bull gave him a parachute to go along with those powerful wings.
8. Caffeine can get heavy.
Everyone knows Red Bull contains caffeine. It is one of the ingredients integral to producing the alive, awake, alert impacts the drink is known for. Each year, the drinks produced by Red Bull use enough caffeine to outweigh a Boeing 747 when put on the scale.
9. Say Dolomitenmann three times fast!
The “tough guy” relay race includes kayaking, biking, running, and paragliding. Of course Red Bull would use such an extreme and unusual event as an opportunity for their first sports sponsorship.
10. The fun event names don’t stop there.
Say Flugtag three times fast! The event is sponsored by none other than Red Bull and requires participants to build “planes” from scratch using their own materials. The crafts are then launched off a 20-foot high launchpad and graded on creativity, showmanship, and distance.
11. For those a little more faint of heart, there are other fun options.
If the idea of paragliding for time or throwing yourself off a ledge attached to a pile of lumber is a little too much, Red Bull Paper Wings allows you to build a paper airplane and challenge others for the longest distance, time in the air, and best aerobatic maneuvers.
12.Red Bull sponsors more traditional sports, too.
Formula 1 racing is quickly becoming popular in regions previously unfamiliar with the sport. Red Bull was the first to sponsor two race teams in the open-wheel racing league and spends over half a billion dollars a year on the sponsorship.
13. The concerns about the caffeine content in Red Bull seem misguided.
Red Bull has become synonymous with a jolt of caffeine. Does that sound like any other beverage to you? Perhaps one typically enjoyed hot in the morning? That’s right, a cup of coffee has a similar caffeine content to Red Bull (80 mg per 250 ml can). That large coffee from the world’s most dominant coffee shop chain has around 330 mg of caffeine.
14. Red Bull makes a cola.
Even more surprising? It is all-natural! Part of its Organics line, Red Bull Cola is made from natural ingredients and uses plant-based products for flavoring. The Cola was discontinued within a few years of release in the United States but can still be found in Austria and Germany.
15. The bull may not be what you think.
The bull on the front of a can of Red Bull is not the kind you find in Dallas, Texas. It is actually a guar (also called an Indian bison). The name begins to make sense when you break down the original inspiration for Red Bull - Krating Daeng. Daeng translates to English from Thai as “red”, while Krating translates as “guar”. The name and image on the can are an homage to its origins.
There you have it. 15 facts about Red Bull to share with your friends. Use them as you wish but consider using a few to dispel some misinformation about the global energy drink brand.