Red Bull

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Red Bull
Red Bull Can.jpg
TypeEnergy drink
DistributorRed Bull GmbH
Country of originAustria[1]
Introduced1987; 34 years ago (1987)
IngredientsCaffeine, taurine,[2][3] glucuronolactone,[4][5][6] sucrose and glucose, B-group vitamins, and alpine spring water
VariantsRed Bull Zero, Red Bull Editions
Related productsKrating Daeng, Red Bull Cola, Red Bull Energy Shot, Red Bull Sugar-Free, Red Bull Total Zero

Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Red Bull GmbH, an Austrian company created in 1987. It is the best-selling energy drink in the world, with 7.9 billion cans sold in a year (as of 2020).[7][8][9][10]

Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by an existing energy drink, Krating Daeng, which was introduced in 1976 in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya. He modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of Westerners,[11] 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.

Red Bull is sold in a tall and slim blue-silver can.[12] Originally available only in a single nondescript flavor and regular or sugar-free formulas, a line of "color editions" with artificial fruit flavors were added in 2013.[13] The company's English slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings".[14] Rather than following a traditional marketing approach, Red Bull has generated awareness and created a "brand myth"[15][16] through proprietary extreme sport event series such as Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Crashed Ice and standout stunts such as the Stratos space diving project.[17]

Its marketing also includes multiple sports team ownerships (Formula One teams Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri, football clubs RB Leipzig, FC Red Bull Salzburg, FC Liefering, Red Bull Bragantino and New York Red Bulls), celebrity endorsements; and music, through its Red Bull Records label.[18]


In front of the Potala Palace, Tibet: a can of the Chinese version of Red Bull is displayed.
Red Bull car

In 1976,[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] The flavouring used for Red Bull is still produced in Bangkok and exported worldwide.[22]

During the 1990s, the product expanded into Hungary, Slovenia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[23] It entered Germany and the UK in 1994, the United States (via California) in 1997 and the Middle East in 2000.[23] In 2008, Forbes magazine listed both Chaleo and Mateschitz as the 250th richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of US$4 billion.[24][25]

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.[22]


Red Bull began offering variations on its drinks in 2003 with a sugar-free version of the drink with a distinct flavor from the original.[26] In 2018, the company released Red Bull Zero, a different sugar-free formulation designed to taste more like the original flavor.[27]

The company began expanding its flavor offerings in 2013 with the launch of Red Bull Editions. Initially available in cranberry, lime, and blueberry, the Editions line has grown to include a variety of flavors, including some available only during specific seasons or in certain regions.[28][29]

In 2019, the company launched Organics by Red Bull, a line of organic sodas with four flavors, bitter lemon, ginger ale, tonic water, and cola.[30]


Nutritional value per 8.4 fl oz[31]
Energy460 kJ (110 kcal)
Dietary fiber0
105 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Depending on the country, Red Bull contains different amounts of caffeine, taurine, B vitamins (B2, B3, B5, B6, B12) and simple sugars (sucrose and glucose) in a buffer solution of carbonated water, baking soda and magnesium carbonate (substituted in some flavors with a trisodium citrate/citric acid buffer, each solution providing electrolytes).[32][33] To produce Red Bull Sugarfree, sugars sucrose and glucose have been replaced by the sweeteners, acesulfame K and aspartame or sucralose.[34]

Previous formulations of Red Bull contained 0.24% glucuronolactone (600 mg of glucuronolactone in a 250 ml can),[35] but this ingredient was removed.

Health effects[edit]

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.[36]

Energy drinks have the effects that caffeine and sugar provide, but experts still argue about the possible effects of the other ingredients.[37] 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.[38] There is evidence that energy drinks can increase mental[39][40][41] and athletic[42][43] 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.[41] 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.[44] Excessive or repeated consumption of energy drinks can lead to cardiac and psychiatric conditions.[45][46]

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.[47] In a separate analysis, they also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support a number of commercial health claims about taurine.[48] 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.[49]

Caffeine content[edit]

The caffeine content of a single 250ml can of Red Bull is approximately 40–80 mg / 250 mL (15–32 mg / 100 mL).[50][51][31] 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.[52][53][38]

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.[54] Consumption of a single energy drink will not lead to excessive caffeine intake.[55][56] 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.[56][57] 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.)[58]

Market approval and legal status[edit]

Authorities in France, Denmark, and Norway initially kept Red Bull from being sold domestically.[59] However, as of 2021, it is on sale in all 27 member states of the European Union and in 171 countries around the world.[60][61]

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.[59] The French food safety agency relented in 2008, because it was unable to prove a definite health risk, taurine-related or not.[62]


In 2013, Red Bull told the Redwell Brewery, a Norfolk micro 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.[63] The two companies reached a settlement permitting Redwell to continue using its name.[64]

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.[65] Named as plaintiffs were Benjamin Careathers, David Wolf, and Miguel Almarez[66] 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.[67] 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[68] within 150 days of affirmance on any appeal.[69] Contrary to reports from some news outlets, the plaintiffs had not alleged that the drink did not give consumers actual wings.[70]


Max Verstappen in the Red Bull RB13, the 2017 Formula One car of the Red Bull Racing Team
Red Bull's TAH-1F Cobra helicopter assembled by Chuck Aaron, owned by the Flying Bulls

Since 1997, Red Bull has been making commercials bearing its slogan "Red Bull gives you wings."[71] Commercials usually were animated and featured characters with constant squints.

Red Bull's international marketing campaign is largely linked to extreme sports. These range from motorcycle speedway, mountain biking,[72] BMX,[73] motocross,[74] windsurfing,[75] snowboarding,[76] skateboarding,[77] kayaking,[78] rowing,[79] wakeboarding,[80] cliff-diving,[81] parkour,[82] surfing,[83] skating,[84] freestyle motocross,[85] rallycross,[86] Formula 1 racing,[87] NASCAR racing,[88] to breakdancing.[89] Red Bull uses music and videogames, and has enlisted celebrities, such as Eminem (sponsoring the Red Bull "EmSee Battle Rap championships").[90] It hosts events like art shows and the "Red Bull Flugtag" (German for "flight day" or "flying day").[91]

Red Bull owns football teams, with clubs in Austria,[92] Germany,[93] the United States,[93] and Brazil[94] 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.[95]

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.[96] 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.[97] In January 2012, Red Bull released its first personal space called the "Red Bull House of Skate" featuring an indoor skate park.[98]

In 2010, the company enlisted Adrian Newey to design a prototype racing car, the Red Bull X2010, for the videogame Gran Turismo 5.[99]

Red Bull Arts[edit]

Red Bull Arts is an art fellowship program launched by Red Bull in 2013 under the name Red Bull House of Arts.[100][101] The program has multiple locations, including Detroit, Michigan; São Paulo, Brazil; and formerly New York City.[100][102][103] The program typically consists of a three-month period during which six to eight participants will create new artwork to be displayed at a final exhibition.[102][104] During the fellowship, artists receive unlimited access to the galleries and a stipend for art supplies.[105] Some of the artwork has been used in Red Bull advertising campaigns.[100][106]

Sports and esports sponsorships[edit]

Red Bull has used sports sponsorships as an advertising vehicle for most of its existence. The company first started sponsoring athletes in 1989, initially focusing on Formula One racing and extreme sports such as windsurfing and hang gliding, and later growing to include more mainstream sports such as basketball and soccer.[107][108][109] As of 2016, the company sponsored more than 750 individual athletes and more than a dozen teams in various disciplines, including motorsports, soccer, and esports.[110]

Athlete sponsorships[edit]

Austrian Formula One driver Gerhard Berger was the first athlete to be sponsored by Red Bull in 1989.[111] Many of the company's early sponsorships were in lesser-known or extreme sports, including Olympic rower Xeno Müller, who won a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the single scull race and BASE jumpers Frank "Gambler" Gambalie, Miles Dashier, and Shane McConkey.[112][113] In the 2010s, Red Bull began expanding its athlete base to include athletes from more mainstream sports, including Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem,[114] Brazilian skateboarder Letícia Bufoni,[115] American skier Lindsey Vonn,[116] and American Major League Baseball player Kris Bryant.[117] The company also started sponsoring video game players and esports athletes, including American Fortnite player Richard "Ninja" Blevins,[118] Spanish League of Legends player Enrique Cedeño "xPeke" Martinez,[119] and Swedish Super Smash Brothers player William "Leffen" Hjelte.[120] As of 2016, the company sponsored more than 750 athletes and esports athletes.[110]

Team ownership and sponsorships[edit]

In the late 1990s, Red Bull sponsored its first team, the Swiss Formula One team Sauber and in 1999 started sponsoring the Flying Bulls, a Czech aerobatics team.[121][122] In the 2000s, the company expanded its sporting team ownership to include several soccer teams, including the Austrian Bundesliga team SV Austria Salzburg (rebranded as Red Bull Salzburg), the Major League Soccer team the New York MetroStars (rebranded as the New York Red Bulls) in 2006, and the fifth-tier German team SSV Markranstadt (rebranded as RasenBallsport Leipzig) in 2009, which the company sought to move to the top of the German Bundesliga.[108] RB Leipzig has been divisive and the subject of protests by some fans but has also experienced rapid success, climbing through the German soccer divisions to get a place in the top-flight German Bundesliga and earning berths in the UEFA Champions League in 2017-2018 and 2019-2020, the latter trip ending with a semifinal loss to Paris St. Germain.[108][123] The company also sponsors the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team and Red Bull 3X, a series of men's and women's 3x3 basketball tournaments.[124][125]

In the 2010s, Red Bull began sponsoring gamers and esports organizations, including OG and Cloud9, and founded the Red Bulls League of Legends team.[126][127][128]


Red Bull Flugtag Stockholm 2010

Current and former Red Bull events include the Air Race World Championship (2003–2019), Argentine motorcycle Grand Prix, Art of Motion, BC One, Big Wave Africa, Cape Fear, Cliff Diving World Series, Crashed Ice, Dolomitenmann, Drifting World Championship, Flugtag, Frozen Rush, Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix, King of the Rock Tournament, Last Man Standing, MotoGP Rookies Cup, Motorcycle Grand Prix of the Americas, New Year No Limits, Paper Wings, Rampage, Red Bull 400, Red Bull Joyride, Road Rage, Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye, Soapbox Race, Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix, Stratos, Street Freestyle World Champions (2019), Trolley Grand Prix, Unleashed (2015), Wings for Life World Run, X-Alps, Xcbusa, and X-Fighters.


Red Bull can that is littered on the roadside is mowed by a mowing machine

Red Bull cans are often find during litter cleanups.[129] During World Cleanup Day 2020 it was the most found brand in the Netherlands for the second year in a row.[130]

See also[edit]


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