Rockstar (branded ROCKST★R) is an Energy Drink created in 2001. With 14% of the US market in 2008, Rockstar is a leading energy drink brand. Rockstar is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of January 2013, Rockstar Energy Drink is available in more than twenty flavors, and is in more than thirty countries.
Founded in 1998 by Russell Weiner, the son of conservative talkshow host Michael Savage, Rockstar launched into the fastest-growing segment of the US beverage market at the time: energy drinks. In addition to featuring different ingredients, which it claimed were "scientifically formulated to speed the recovery time of those who lead active and exhausting lifestyles—from athletes to rock stars," Rockstar sought to differentiate itself from the market leader, Red Bull, by using a 16 oz can size (against Red Bull's 8 oz can) and marketing itself as "twice the size of Red Bull for the same price!"
By 2007, Rockstar was one of the top three energy drink brands in North America, (having enjoyed a 155% growth in sales in 2004, reaching $48 million) and had sold over a billion cans. It had 14% of the US energy drink market in 2008, and as of 2009 was available in over 20 countries, in addition to the United States. Rockstar switched distributors from The Coca-Cola Company to PepsiCo in the summer of 2009.
Like its competitor Red Bull, Rockstar sponsors a range of action sports and music events, including the Mayhem Festival, a metal and rock festival touring the United States in July and August; the Uproar Festival, a rock festival touring the United States in September and October. Both the Mayhem and Uproar events were discontinued in 2015.
Rockstar cans are known for their bright distinct colors, the various Rockstar flavors are frequently referred to by the color of the can more so than the specific name (e.g. "Zero Carb" is "Blue Rockstar", "Recovery Lemonade" is "Yellow Rockstar", "PerfectBerry" is "Pink Rockstar", etc...)
Rockstar products in the US have two levels of Caffeine content - either 10 mg of caffeine per ounce, or 15 mg of caffeine per ounce. Rockstar Energy Drink Original contains 160 mg of caffeine per 16 ounce can, while the Rockstar Punched energy drink contain 360 mg of caffeine per 24 ounce can.
Rockstar energy gum was introduced in 2010. There are ten pieces in a pack, and one pack contains the same amount of caffeine as five 8 oz cans. It is available in two flavors: iced mint and iced mint orange.
Besides caffeine and sugar, Rockstar Energy Drink contains a variety of herbs, including panax ginseng, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle extract, and guarana seed. The amount of guarana used to be higher, but "after being criticized for including guarana once health concerns about the herb were publicized, the amount in the drink was significantly reduced." It also includes 1000 mg of taurine.
As with all energy drinks, Rockstar can cause jitteriness, head aches, anxiety, and high blood sugar levels. If mixed with alcohol it may also mask the level of alcohol intoxication. There are no known side-effects if used in moderation. Several alcoholic versions of Rockstar are available in Canada; an alcoholic version in the US was discontinued in 2007, possibly in response to criticism that young people were confusing the alcoholic version with the regular one.
Rockstar Original was named Worst Energy Drink by Men's Health magazine for having 280 calories due to 67.5 grams of sugar. Monster Energy Lo-Carb, with 20 calories, was suggested as a replacement.
Rockstar has introduced a line of low calorie energy drinks that include electrolytes called Rockstar Recovery, partially in response to these concerns.
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Members of the LGBT community have supported a boycott because the company's founder and CEO is the son of controversial radio personality Michael Savage, and because its former CFO, Janet Weiner, is Savage's wife and also CFO of Savage Productions. The boycott was motivated by allegations that Savage had made comments perceived to be homophobic, racist, and discriminatory. In May 2009 San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom returned a $25,000 donation which Rockstar had made to his 2010 re-election campaign.
During an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Eric Jaye of the campaign, stated the money was returned because "there was some statements made during (Weiner's) 1998 campaign in the GOP primary which conflicted with the mayor's position and we're returning the check," he said.
In a later interview Weiner told the SF Gate: "I still wish Gavin well. I always will." But he said that with the donation rejected, "I'm taking this money and I'm donating it to charity. We're telling them to name a charity of their choosing, and if they don't want it, we'll donate it to Project Open Hand."
Rockstar CFO Janet Weiner had stepped down from her role as CFO of Savage Productions "as an apparent statement of solidarity with equality advocates" which had not been requested as part of the agreement.
Rockstar, saying that the "truthaboutrockstarenergydrink.com" domain name was registered and used in bad faith, obtained control of that site under a decision from the National Arbitration Forum.