Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by an existing energy drink, Krating Daeng, which was introduced in 1981 in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya. He modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of Westerners, and in partnership with Chaleo, founded Red Bull GmbH in 1984 in Fuschl am See, Austria. In Thai, daeng means red, and a krating (known in English as a gaur or Indian bison) is a large species of wild bovine native to the Indian subcontinent. Yoovidhya's heirs own majority stakes in both brands, and they both use the same red bull on yellow sun logo while continuing to market the separate drinks to the respective Thai and Western markets.
In front of the Potala Palace, Tibet: a can of the Chinese version of Red Bull is displayed.
Red Bull car
In 1976, Chaleo Yoovidhya introduced a drink called Krating Daeng in Thailand, which means "red gaur" in English. It was popular among Thai truck drivers and labourers. While working for German manufacturer Blendax (later acquired by Procter & Gamble) in 1982, Dietrich Mateschitz travelled to Thailand and met Chaleo, owner of T.C. Pharmaceutical. During his visit, Mateschitz discovered that Krating Daeng helped cure his jet lag. In 1984, Mateschitz co-founded Red Bull GmbH with Yoovidhya and turned it into an international brand. Each partner invested US$500,000 of savings to found the company. Yoovidhya and Mateschitz each held a 49 percent share of the new company. They gave the remaining two percent to Yoovidhya's son, Chalerm, but it was agreed that Mateschitz would run the company. The product was launched in Austria in 1987.
In Thailand, energy drinks are most popular with blue-collar workers. Red Bull re-positioned the drink as a trendy, upscale drink, first introducing it at Austrian ski resorts. Pricing was a key differentiator, with Red Bull positioned as a premium drink and Krating Daeng as a lower cost item. In many countries, both drinks are available, dominating both ends of the price spectrum.
Red Bull GmbH is headquartered in Fuschl am See, an Austrian village of about 1,500 inhabitants near Salzburg. The company is 51 percent controlled by the Yoovidhya family who, for technical reasons, own the trademark in Europe and the US.
In 1995, Krating Daeng authorized its drink, labelled as Red Bull, to be sold in China. Since 2014, the Austrian Red Bull (carbonated) has also been exported to China. This has created confusion since both drinks use the same brand name, in both English and Chinese.
Similarly, in Southeast Asia, Red Bull and Krating Daeng are often confused as both use the Red Bull name in their packaging, although they are two separate products aimed at different markets. The main difference is that Red Bull comes in a tall blue and silver can while the Thailand Red Bull, or Krating Daeng, is in a smaller gold can. The two drinks also differ in terms of taste--Red Bull has less sugar and is carbonated. The flavouring used for Red Bull is still produced in Bangkok and exported worldwide.
Several of these flavors have been rebranded for special events (the special grapefruit flavor, for example, has been branded as the "Bull" Edition, the "Red Italian" Edition, and the "F1 Edition").
Claims about the drink's effects and performance have been challenged on various occasions, with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority imposing advertising restrictions in 2001 in response to complaints recorded as early as 1997.
Energy drinks have the effects that caffeine and sugar provide, but experts still argue about the possible effects of the other ingredients. Most of the effects of energy drinks on cognitive performance, such as increased attention and reaction speed, are primarily due to the presence of caffeine. There is evidence that energy drinks can increase mental and athletic performance. A study funded by Red Bull GmbH, which did not include a caffeine-only control group, found that performance during prolonged driving is increased after consumption of Red Bull. Other tests for physical performance showed results such as increased endurance and power. Red Bull energy drink increased upper body muscle endurance during repeated Wingate tests in young healthy adults. Excessive or repeated consumption of energy drinks can lead to cardiac and psychiatric conditions.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that exposure to taurine and glucuronolactone at the levels presently used in energy drinks is not a safety concern. In a separate analysis, they also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support a number of commercial health claims about taurine. A review published in 2008 found no documented reports of negative or positive health effects associated with the amount of taurine used in energy drinks, including Red Bull.
The caffeine content of a single 250ml can of Red Bull is approximately 80-40 mg / 250 mL (32-15 mg / 100 mL). The caffeine level in Red Bull varies depending on country, as some countries have legal restrictions on how much caffeine is allowed in drinks. As is the case with other caffeinated beverages, Red Bull drinkers may experience adverse effects as a result of overuse. Excessive consumption may induce mild to moderate euphoria primarily caused by stimulant properties of caffeine and may also induce agitation, anxiety, irritability and insomnia.
The general population of healthy adults is not at risk for potential adverse effects from caffeine if they limit their consumption to 400 mg per day, which is the equivalent of 5 standard cans, with one can being 250ml in volume. Consumption of a single energy drink will not lead to excessive caffeine intake. Adverse effects associated with caffeine consumption in amounts greater than 400 mg include nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), and dyspepsia. Consumption also has been known to cause pupil dilation when taken with certain antidepressants or SSRIs. Caffeine dosage is not required to be on the product label for food in the United States, unlike drugs, but some advocates are urging the FDA to change this practice. (Red Bull voluntarily lists the caffeine content in each can along with the ingredient list.)
The French food safety agency was concerned about taurine. A Red Bull drink that did not contain taurine was introduced. The French refusal of market approval was challenged by the European Commission, and partially upheld by the European Court of Justice in 2004. The French food safety agency relented in 2008, because it was unable to prove a definite health risk, taurine-related or not.
In 2013, Red Bull told the Redwell Brewery, a Norfolkmicro brewery, to change its name or face legal action, because it sounded too similar to Red Bull. The eight-man brewery in Norwich was told its name could "confuse" customers and "tarnish" its trademark. The two companies reached a settlement permitting Redwell to continue using its name.
In 2014, Red Bull entered into a US$13 million settlement to resolve two consumer class action lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Named as plaintiffs were Benjamin Careathers, David Wolf, and Miguel Almarez who had sued the company claiming breach of express warranty and unjust enrichment, alleging that Red Bull falsely asserted performance-enhancing benefits from the drink's ingredients that were unsubstantiated by scientific studies. On 1 May 2015 the Court approved the settlement, giving customers who had submitted claims the opportunity to receive a US$10 cash reimbursement or US$15 in Red Bull products within 150 days of affirmamce on any appeal. Contrary to reports from some news outlets, the plaintiffs had not alleged that the drink did not give consumers actual wings.
Red Bull owns football teams, with clubs in Austria, Germany, the United States, and Brazil featuring the Red Bull trademark in their names. By associating the drink's image with these activities, the company seeks to promote a "cool" public image and raise brand power. The energy drink has created a market for over 150 related types of products.
In the PlayStation 3's social gaming platform, PlayStation Home, Red Bull developed its own in-game island, specifically advertising its energy drink and the Red Bull Air Race event (for which the space is named) released in January 2009. In late November 2009, Red Bull produced two new spaces, the Red Bull Illume space, and the Red Bull Beach space featuring the Red Bull Flugtag, both released on the same day. In January 2012, Red Bull released its first personal space called the "Red Bull House of Skate" featuring an indoor skate park.
The Red Bull House of Art is an art fellowship program that was launched by Red Bull. The program is held in multiple cities, most notably the Red Bull House of Art programs in Detroit, Michigan and São Paulo, Brazil, and the program typically consists of a three-month period during which time six to eight participants will create new artwork with the intent to display it in a final exhibition. During the fellowship the artists receive unlimited access to the galleries and a stipend for art supplies.
Some of the artwork has been used in Red Bull advertising campaigns.
Team Red Bull: a Toyota racing team competing in the U.S.-based stock car racing competition NASCAR Red Bull Racing Team competed in NASCAR beginning in 2007. The team ceased operations after the Sprint Cup Series' 2011 season.
^Forbes SC, Candow DG, Little JP, Magnus C, Chilibeck PD (October 2007). "Effect of Red Bull energy drink on repeated Wingate cycle performance and bench-press muscle endurance". International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 17 (5): 433-44. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.17.5.433. PMID18046053.
^Sanchis-Gomar F, Pareja-Galeano H, Cervellin G, Lippi G, Earnest CP (May 2015). "Energy drink overconsumption in adolescents: implications for arrhythmias and other cardiovascular events". The Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 31 (5): 572-5. doi:10.1016/j.cjca.2014.12.019. hdl:11268/3906. PMID25818530.
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