GU Energy Labs

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GU Energy Labs
FounderBill Vaughan
United States
Key people
Brian Vaughan, president
  • GU Energy Gel
  • GU Chomps
  • GU Electrolyte Brew Drink
  • GU Recovery Brew Drink
  • GU Electrolyte Brew Tablets
  • Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink
  • Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel
Number of employees
50 (2011)

GU Energy Labs is a company based in Berkeley, California, that produces performance sports nutrition products, most notably energy gels. Usually consumed during endurance events, the gels are designed to be quickly and easily digested. Other products include energy chews, drink mixes (called "brews"), brew tablets, and a Roctane Ultra Endurance line that includes an energy drink mix and gel. The company was founded in 1994 by Bill Vaughan, who began creating an energy gel product in 1990. GU is considered the first major distributor of energy gels. The company has grown over time, and in 2011 its corporate headquarters and 50 employees relocated to a larger space in Berkeley's 4th Street shopping district. It is now run by Bill's son, Brian Vaughan, who serves as president.

Background and company history[edit]

Sports energy gels emerged in the United Kingdom in 1986 as a "convenient, prewrapped, portable" way to deliver carbohydrates during endurance events.[1] Gels have a gooey texture and are sometimes referred to as "goo" generically.[2][3] Bill Vaughan, a biophysicist at University of California, Berkeley,[4] began working on an energy gel product in 1990.[2] He established GU Energy Labs in Berkeley, California, in 1994.[5] GU Energy Labs is regarded as the first major distributor of energy gels, supplying products at the Ironman World Championship in 1996.[6][7] GU is now run by Bill's son, Brian Vaughan, who serves as president.[2]

In June 2011, GU moved its corporate operations and 50 employees from a 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) space to one with twice as much floor space.[8][9] The larger, 26,000-square-foot (2,400 m2) space, located in Berkeley's 4th Street shopping district, affords the company an increased production capacity, with room for additional growth.[8][9] GU's 2011 relocation was the first time in five years that all of its employees operated from a single location; previously, the company's operations, shipping, and marketing were executed from multiple buildings throughout Berkeley. GU outsourced its shipping operations to a third party provider, "for improved service and response times".[9]


GU Energy Labs produces a variety of performance sports nutrition products, intended to increase the endurance of athletes.[10] Its products include GU Energy Gel, GU Chomps (energy chews), drink mixes (branded as "Brews"), and a line of Roctane Ultra Endurance products.[citation needed] Their energy gel contains carbohydrates (maltodextrin and fructose), an amino acid blend, electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and, in some flavors, caffeine.[11][12] Gel packets provide 100 calories and come in a variety of flavors,[2] including blackberry, chocolate, mandarin orange,[13] peppermint stick,[14] raspberry, salted caramel,[15] strawberry banana, triple berry, and vanilla.[11][16] The energy chews, created in 2009 and based on the gel formula,[10] are made from similar ingredients but also include antioxidants and come in a chewable form.[17]

GU produces two brews: the GU Electrolyte Brew Drink (launched in 2001 and formerly known as Gu2o)[10] and the GU Recovery Brew Drink.[18] The Recovery Brew, designed for consumption following physical activity, was created in 2009 and includes amino acids, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and protein.[10][19] GU Electrolyte Brew Tablets contain a low-calorie sweetening agent derived from Stevia.[20]

GU's Roctane Ultra Endurance line, introduced in 2008, includes an energy gel and a drink mix.[10][21] The drink formula contains caffeine (in most flavors), beta-Alanine, taurine, and additional amino acids.[22] Compared to GU's original energy gel, servings of Roctane energy gel contains three times more branched-chain amino acids, more electrolytes, and ten times more histidine.[2][23]


The company sponsors numerous triathlon, swimming, biking, running[24] and outdoor athletes in order to promote its products, including the Brazilian team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup,[25] USA Triathlon,[5] TriGrandPrix,[26] the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series,[27] and the Leadville Race Series.[28] In 2012, the company became the first official gel and chew sponsor for Ironman.[7][29] In 2013, in conjunction with the Challenged Athletes Foundation,[30] GU established the "Challenge for Kids" campaign to benefit children suffering from amputation maladies, including traumatic limb loss, congenital effects, and "disease-state" complications.[31] The company created a special edition passionfruit flavor for its Roctane line; profits from the product would allow the purchase of prosthetics, allowing children to regain mobility.[31][32] GU increased its goal to $100,000, having surpassed its original goal of $50,000.[33] The company has also supported the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, an organization that promotes high school mountain biking.[34][35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schwarb, John (January 3, 2003). "Forget carb-filled bars, runners gaga for goo". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gallman, Judith M. (January–February 2009). "Brian Vaughan: GU Guru". Oakland Magazine. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  3. ^ Blake, Judith (November 19, 2004). "A new fuel for athletes: energy gels". The Baltimore Sun. Tribune Company. ISSN 1930-8965. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Ben (May 24, 2011). "Dazed and infused with the runner's high". National Post. Toronto, Ontario: Postmedia Network. ISSN 1486-8008. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "USA Triathlon, GU Energy Labs Team Up for Silver-Level Sponsorship". USA Triathlon. April 15, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "GU Energy Returns to Ironman". World Triathlon Corporation. March 20, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Roethenbaugh, Gary (March 21, 2012). "GU Energy signs two year deal with Ironman". Triathlon Business. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Knobel, Lane (January 7, 2011). "Annie's plans move from Napa to Berkeley". Berkeleyside. Berkeley, California. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "GU Energy Labs Expands Into New Hometown Headquarters". Outdoor USA Magazine. DNF Media. June 6, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e "The GU Story". GU Energy Labs. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "GU Energy Gel". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  12. ^ Carpenter, Murray (November 19, 2012). "Caffeine Gives Endurance Athletes a Third and Fourth Wind". NPR. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  13. ^ "GU Energy Gel – Product Review". The Cricket Magazine. 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  14. ^ Rasmussen, Matt (December 25, 2012). "Product review: Peppermint Stick GU Energy Gel". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  15. ^ "GU Energy Labs' Salted Caramel Energy Gel to Hit Store Shelves". Running Magazine. Immagina LLC. July 19, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  16. ^ Flavors:
  17. ^ "GU Chomps Energy Chews". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  18. ^ "GU Electrolyte Brew Drink". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  19. ^ "GU Recovery Brew Drink". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  20. ^ "GU Electrolyte Brew Tablets". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  21. ^ "Roctane Ultra Endurance". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  22. ^ "Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  23. ^ "Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel". GU Energy Labs. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  24. ^ Sponsorship of marathons and other running events:
  25. ^ "GU Energy Gel Fuels Brazilian World Cup Squad". Mike Trees Training. Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  26. ^ Condon, Rob (March 24, 2011). "GU Energy Labs partnering with TriGrandPrix". TriGrandPrix. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  27. ^ "Gu Energy". Competitor Group, Inc. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  28. ^ Leadville Race Series:
  29. ^ Surface, Scott (October 23, 2012). "Industry News: Underpants Turn to Gold: GU Energy Raises Charity Funds at Ironman World Championship". Outdoor Industry Association. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  30. ^ Thomas, Garvin (October 31, 2013). "San Jose Amputee Gets Second Chance at Ironman Championship". NBC. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  31. ^ a b Roethenbaugh, Gary (December 12, 2013). "GU Energy 'Challenge for Kids' charity campaign has new target of US$100,000". Triathlon Business. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  32. ^ "Challenge for Kids". GU Energy Labs. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  33. ^ Wright, Gordon (December 11, 2013). "GU Charity Campaign Passes $50,000 – Aims for $100K". Outdoor Industry Association. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  34. ^ Vaughan, Brian (July 22, 2013). "GU Gives Supports NICA thru Colorado Trail Race". GU Energy Labs. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  35. ^ Beaudin, Matthew (November 5, 2013). "National Interscholastic Cycling Association adds 3 new mountain bike leagues". Retrieved February 25, 2014.

External links[edit]