Red Bull is the world’s leading producer of energy drinks, selling billions of cans every year. The drinks origins date back to 1976 when Chaleo Yoovidhya introduced a drink called Krating Daeng in Thailand that was mostly used by truck drivers and laborers to ward of sleep. In 1982, Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz discovered the drink during a visit to Thailand as a way to help with his jet lag. In 1984, Mateschitz co-founded Red Bull with Yoovidhya with each partner investing $500,000. In 1987, the company launched its product in Austria as a berry flavored energy drink.
By 1992, Red Bull expanded to international markets and was introduced in the United States in 1997. In 2008, Forbes named Chaleo and Mateschitz the 250th richest people in the world with their net worth estimated to be $4 billion.
Despite the company’s success, it has faced controversy over the ingredients used in the energy drink. It contains caffeine, taurine, and glucoronolactone which have had their safety reviewed by health authorities. Multiple studies, including one by the European Food Safety Authority, have found that the ingredients do not pose a safety concern, but multiple deaths have been attributed to consumption of the energy drink.
In 2013, the total amount of caffeine present in all the cans of Red Bull that were sold amounted to 475 tons. Red Bull was initially banned in some countries because of its stimulant ingredients, but is now available in 165 countries.
The company’s slogan is “it gives you wings,” and Red Bull has used it to target young men through involvement in extreme sports such as mountain biking, BMX, motocross, windsurfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, and kayaking. At least six extreme-sports performers have died during Red Bull sponsored competitions such as the X-Games and the Red Bull X-Fighters competition.
The following video reveals 10 controversial facts about Red Bull that many are unaware of, including the fact that the drink contained cocaine at one point.