The Red Bull recipe is based on a drink loved by Thai truck drivers.
Red Bull began as a Thai energy drink, called Krating Daeng, marketed towards factory workers and truckers trying to get through long shifts. The original mix was made with the same combination of taurine and caffeine but is actually sweeter than our modern version.
Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz discovered that Krating Daeng cured him of his jet lag on a business trip to Thailand. He liked it so much he eventually tracked down creator Chaleo Yoovidhya, and the two went into business together. Mateschitz rebranded it as Red Bull, made the drink berry flavoured, and brought it to European markets in 1987.
Red Bull was once pulled from German markets after authorities found trace amounts of cocaine in the drink. The brand states that it does use coca leaves, but only as a flavouring agent after removing the cocaine alkaloid.
As part of the Red Bull Stratos, the brand sent Austrian skydiver and Red Bull athlete Felix Baumgartner 24 miles up into space in a helium balloon. Decked out in a Red Bull pressure suit, Baumgartner was free falling at speeds over 830 miles per hour before he deployed his parachute. Baumgartner broke the sound barrier, becoming the first person to do so without using any engines.
It may come as no surprise that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is a pilot and extreme-sports enthusiast himself.
The logo on the Red Bull cans are not cattle, but a type of bovine called a “gaur”.
Red Bull is the highest-grossing energy drink in the world, followed by Monster and Rockstar. In total, the brand has sold 50 billion cans in over 167 different countries. Dietrich Mateschitz is now the richest man in Austria, and Yoovidhya is the second-richest person in Thailand.
Red Bull HQ in Fuschl am See, Austria, is James Bond-esque, is completely swagged-out housing the Red Bull creative team, the compound consists of two domes that float on a boat-shaped lake.
Red Bull has its own record label – titled Red Bull Records of course! The most popular group on the label is Awolnation.
The brand also has its own hangar in the Salzburg airport in Austria that hosts a lineup of vintage aircraft and helicopters, along with an art gallery and a restaurant, aptly named Ikarus, that features a new top chef from around the world every month.
In spite of many health claims, Red Bull contains the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, which is 80 mg. A 16-ounce Starbucks Grande has 330 mg!
In 2014, Red Bull was sued for false advertising for their slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings”. A consumer said he had been drinking Red Bull for 10 years and never gained wings or enhanced athletic skills. It ended up being a $13 million lawsuit.
There is a version of Red Bull that is only available to Formula 1 VIPs.
Red Bull holds a yearly running competition called Wings for Life which raises money to donate to research for spinal cord injuries and paraplegia.
Red Bull was the first energy drink ever made, and they created the energy drink industry.