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When Did Energy Drinks, Like Red Bull, Monster, First Appear?

Updated on March 19, 2012
Dietrich M. today
Dietrich M. today
Chaleo in 1980's.
Chaleo in 1980's.
The Thai version
The Thai version
The world version
The world version

They Called It Krathing Daeng

Or, Red Bull. Now, you want to know the REST of the story.

It was created by Chaleo Yoovidhya back in the 1960's. He recently died with a net worth of $5 billion.Not bad. He had started TC Pharmaceuticals in Bangkok, Thailand, and one of the early creations was a sort of energy drink that gave you a boost, like coffee. This wasn't the Red Bull you know, but a predecessor. It was not sold.

Chaleo continued tweaking this concoction and the Red Bull we know was born by the early 1970's, with generous amounts of caffeine, vitamins, sugar, taurine. The drink was sold locally and became popular with truck drivers, construction workers and taxi cab drivers. The drink was first given away free in the remote provinces where these types gathered. Once the free doses were stopped, the new drink sold well and was only in Thailand. Chaleo had actually based his drink on Japan's, Lipovitan.

Roaming about in Thailand selling toothpaste was an Austrian, a Dietrich Mateschitz. One day, after a long flight in, he saw it for sale in a store, bought it and drank it. He thought it might be a good product to sell after long flights. After meeting with Chaleo. the two men formed, Red Bull GmbH, this was 1982. Each owned half of the company. While Chaleo was the creator of the drink, it was Mateschitz that introduced it to the world in the 80's. It was he that thought college students and others would benefit from this when alertness was important. His early ad campaigns had a Red Bull can perched on top of a VW for recognition. The drink was given to students and he threw Red Bull parties developing the word of mouth buzz and then began to identify the drink with extreme sports requiring energy, eventually, there was even a US soccer team called the New York Red Bulls.

However, Europe got the drink in 1987, America in 1997. Then, some authorities banned it or tried to ban it because of side effects. Instead of hurting sales, it doubled because most young people thought it was illegal, so, that must be good stuff.

Today, Red Bull sells four billion cans a year, employs 8000 people, is in 160 countries and owns 40% of the market.


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