5 Energy Drink Companies Compared
*In the voice of Dan LaFontaine (AKA Movie Announcer Guy)*
“The order of a world hangs on the brink of destruction. A world of sub-freezing temperatures well lit behind a glass door leading into the abyss beyond. One energy drink, a drink that has stood in defiance to the passage of time in a raging American economy. One energy drink holds its ground in the face of destruction.
Destruction from the five most powerful energy drink armies known to man. Five armies so fierce, so large, that they shake the very shelves they stand on. The sole energy drink standard spawned with the beginning of time itself now fights in the eclipse of the Five Armies.
The Five Armies of Amp, Monster, Sobe, Rip-It, and Rockstar have all found their way to the battlefield. Tradition will battle evolution in the ultimate showdown. One will survive. One will fall. One lone energy drink blogger will risk it all. Risk it all to tell all as he covers the results of the epic battle. What army will reign supreme and threaten the very nature of the current world? Read on… or take cover.”
This is Pepsi’s entry into the market. It started with the timeless and irresistibly tasty original Amp. This was one of the first energy drinks to break away from the standard energy drink flavor, and in hindsight was ahead of its time. Drink makers to this day have a hard time producing energy drinks with such a wonderful better-than-soda flavor.
The Amp line quickly evolved with the addition of 5 other variations and a couple of recent tea additions. The line-up does not have one bad tasting drink, but a lack of energy plagues each and every one of them.
- Variety: 3/5
- Taste: 4/5
- Energy: 2/5
This drink line-up is one mean powerhouse of taste, energy, tradition, and advertising power. The original Monster started out slow in the needy niche of the videogamer, but soon evolved into motor sports. Monster now undeniably commands the motor sport genre, and has won over the hearts of many average energy drink consumers with its unique taste and impressive energy offerings. It’s hard to not be intrigued by a can graphic of a monster inside the can clawing to get out.
Monster’s popularity grew exponentially as soon as it started finding its way out of LAN gaming sessions to more and more gas station shelves, and soon added 4 other variations. Even more, Monster branched out extensively with their Java line-up to cater to the bean and tea lovers out there.
- Variety: 4/5
- Taste: 3/5
- Energy: 4/5
Pepsi just couldn’t get enough of the energy drink dollar with the Amp lineup! So, shortly after gobbling up SoBe from its original owners, they cranked out more energy drinks under the SoBe name. The first, No Fear, was an instant hit with its no-bs grapefruit taste. This drink picked a flavor direction, fully committed itself to it, and nailed it. Energy in the SoBe line has always been moderate, though, unfortunately. This seems to be a recurring theme with Pepsi.
Obviously the SoBe line had No Fear, as its roster soon became incredibly deep. Added to the family were the Adrenaline Rush variants, sugar free versions, Gold, a promotional limited run Superman drink, a couple Essential Energy variants, and the recent Super Energy variants. In total, we’re talking 14 energy drinks in the history of SoBe. Currently, about 12 are available. The original No Fear cans are virtually nonexistent and the Superman drink is long gone.
- Variety: 5/5
- Taste: 3/5
- Energy: 3/5
I have no idea where these drinks came from, it’s as if they flooded gas station coolers overnight. Unlike the other drink lines, this one did not start on a single successful drink and build up. This collection hit the market with an exceptional variety that hundreds of other drink manufacturers are still struggling to achieve. Rip-It’s offerings are also unique in the sense that each drink has its own highly unique (and enjoyable) taste, not just a special flavoring on top of a familiar taste foundation. This is actually quite an uncommon feature in the majority of energy drink collections out there. Unfortunately, energy offerings are mediocre at best. It is not uncommon to drink one of these drinks and feel nothing.
To count the number of Rip-It flavors available you may just need to get a calculator out. This collection ties SoBe for the most extensive energy drink line-up known to man (Rockstar actually pretty much makes it a three-way tie, read on).
- Variety: 5/5
- Taste: 5/5
- Energy: 2/5
To me, this drink’s gimmicky name and associated slogans are entirely lame. It seems as if the people behind the name of the drink did not trust the average consumer’s ability to understand analogies for the concept of energy, and landed with Rockstar – which conveniently comes packaged with a goody bag of painfully obvious cliché’s. “Gee guys. When I drink this drink I feel like I wanna… I dunno it’s awesome I think I wanna party! Ooh oohoooooh I know! I want to PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR! Hahaha did you hear that? I totally just made that connection on the fly! Ahh oh ooooh that’s so cool because rockstars like, you know – get crazy pumped up on life and totally bang all the hot chicks. This is awesome.”
Ok, enough of my rant. I’ll get straight to the point – this drink is coffee’s worst enemy. The original Rockstar was received moderately well. It was a little late in the game, but it made a statement with its own take on flavor and energy; oh the energy! I’m telling you, the company behind Rockstar simply gets us. The drinks that followed the original Rockstar, all 10 of them (PLUS some coffee flavors), each offered more caffeine than any other drink collection has the guts to. Some of the drinks may not be the tastiest out there, but they certainly don’t gag you. But seriously, this drink line-up is the energy king.
- Variety: 5/5
- Taste: 3/5
- Energy: 5/5
This is the drink collection made for energy fiends.
Down any one of their drinks, and you can almost always count on a pleasant experience with guaranteed wake-up power. To the rest of the four armies, take a book out of Rockstar’s page and give the customers what they want. Pack your 16oz cans with energy, and if you’re worried we won’t like it, offer some smaller cans. Rockstar, I salute you. I wish you the best of luck in knocking down the reigning king of energy drink sales. You know the one.
- Most Improved: Rockstar
- Best Value: Rip-It (starting at $1.09 I have to add)
- Best Aesthetics: Monster
- Best Product Naming: Rip-It
Other random awards for product lines not mentioned above:
- Most promising up-and-comer: NOS
- Worst tasting: Vitamin Energy
- Best chance to give you a heart attack: Spike
Disclaimer: It may be obvious for some, but don’t forget these are all one person’s opinion 🙂 To qualify as an “army,” the company needed offer at least 7 different drinks (not including shots) that retail in the U.S. Product lines in the posted picture are not comprehensive.
Written by Dusty Smith