Here's a horrible confession: I love energy drinks. I know they're crammed with sugar and bull’s testicles and are probably doing something weird – like slowly pickling my organs and straining my heart – but I don't care. I love the cold, syrupy-sweet goodness of a Red Bull through a straw, the bright, fizzy tea taste of a Club Mate, the jolt of caffeine coursing through my veins. If I were on death row, my final meal would be an energy drink so that I could literally bounce into hell.
After a number of years of guzzling energy drinks, I feel I have developed a preternatural knowledge of exactly which type of person consumes which drink and why. Energy drinks might be more or less built the same way – glucose plus carbonated water plus caffeine plus miscellaneous chemicals – but they also attract very different personality types. They each have their own core identity markers; their own specific groupies, if you will.
With the above in mind, here's what your favourite energy drink says about you.
You spent your teen years loitering at some random outdoor spot with seven to ten other goths / emos in your hometown (by the park swings, on the town hall stairs, outside a public library) posing with Monster and doing “the claw” in digital photos and running from people who called you “grunger”.
Now, aged 27, you do pretty much the same but in the pub slash someone's flat and minus the pics. If you're a guy, you have a neckbeard now and play drums in a band called something like “Crucifixation”. If you're a girl you're bisexual, have big boobs and wear cat ears in private. You’re both somehow sound as fuck.
What do hacktivists, straight-edge ravers and tech freaks have in common? Club-Mate, of course – the sweet German soda mixed with extract of yerba mate, a caffeine-laden plant native to South America.
If you're the kind of person who regularly checks the Club-Mate Map for new “drops” (the drink is notorious for being short in supply and relies on word-of-mouth advertising) you probably spend six out of seven nights locked in your room listening to 8-bit music created by an AI, checking Ethereum and “exploiting vulnerabilities” with your 4chan mates. Or, more likely, you just spend a lot of time at Cafe Oto in Dalston and like showing your NFTs to people at parties.
Every morning you wake up at 5AM to fill in your manifestation journal, followed by 15 mins on a meditation app and 10 mins to track your Depop ingoings and outgoings, also via an app (which you designed yourself).
Diet Coke is your only vice, but it's not really a vice because it makes you more awake which means you can make more money. That's what you tell yourself anyway, as you post an Instagram square that reads “Stop living, start grinding” in pink cursive font, to the tune of 189 likes. You once launched your own lip gloss brand which was just priced-up Vaseline squeezed into pastel-coloured tubes and renamed “Dew”.
That, or you’re a gay man.
You are obviously a legend. I hope you experience a lifetime of deeply fulfilling experiences and encounters.
Have you ever seen a woman drink Lucozade? Me neither. Lucozade is the cis, straight man's drink, the Original Source Mint shower gel of beverages, the navy coloured duvet set from Matalan of drinks. If Lucozade was a man, he would be called Kyle or Luke and he would play football twice a week and have the same girlfriend for the past ten years. Remember that guy who stole a 24-pack of Lucozade from a Co-op in Mitcham on a hoverboard? A Co-op in Mitcham is exactly where a Lucozade drinker would go to thieve.
Is Lucozade even an energy drink? The Lucozade drinker doesn’t care. He just wants a nice house and to make some gains at the gym.
The “classic Red Bull drinker” is hard to pinpoint because it's the most standard of energy drinks. It's the one pounded by girls on nights out with vodka before getting into fights on the dancefloor. It's the one the RuPaul Drag Race queens neck in the workroom before having to make an entire “executive” look out of old tents. And it’s the one sipped by city boys with booming voices and AirPods who always just “need to hop on a call.”
The thing about Red Bull drinkers, though, is that despite their pervasiveness, nobody wants to be seen as a “Red Bull drinker”. It's embarrassing, like admitting you come from Penge or have carpal tunnel syndrome. The Red Bull drinkers are everywhere among us, everywhere, but nobody knows exactly who they are.
You wouldn't be seen DEAD drinking energy drinks. “Do you know what they put in that stuff?” you ask literally anybody eating anything other than something they strangled or yanked out the earth with their own bare hands. You live in Clapton Pond, wear Merrells and your girlfriend or boyfriend is a teacher. You met on a Facebook group for cyclists.
Tenzing’s fine though, you figure, seeing as they have words like “sustainable” and “plant” in their Insta bio and it looks like it could be fizzy water, if someone were to, you know, check.
You have five hours to finish an essay on whether Waiting For Godot is inherently moralistic and the only thing you've written is “In this essay I will…” You agreed to only go for one drink at the student union last night but instead ended up going on a Wonga-sponsored night out and doing a whole Spoons crawl, you stupid fuck!!! And now you’re going to fail your entire second year!! If you drink this ginormous – so ginormous it eclipses the entire library – Relentless though, you’ll definitely be able to come up with something, right?
Boost / V / Bolt / any of those lurid ones you can buy at off-licences for 59p