Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Austrian company Red Bull GmbH, created in 1987. In terms of market share, Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world, with 4.6 billion cans sold in 2011.
Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by a pre-existing energy drink named Krating Daeng (Thai: กระทิงแดง, Thai pronunciation: [kràtʰiŋ dɛːŋ]), which was first invented and sold in Thailand. He took this idea, modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of Westerners, and, in partnership with Chaleo Yoovidhya, founded Red Bull GmbH in Austria. In Thai, daeng means red, and krating is the reddish-brown bovine called a "gaur", which is an animal slightly larger than thebison. Red Bull is sold in a tall and slim blue-silver can; in Thailand and in some parts of Asia it is sold in a wider gold can with the name of Krating Daeng or Red Bull Classic. The two are different products, produced separately.
The company slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings" and the product is marketed through advertising, events (Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Crashed Ice), sports team ownerships (Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso, EC Red Bull Salzburg, FC Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull New York, RB Leipzig, Red Bull Brasil), celebrity endorsements, and music, through its record label Red Bull Records.
Red Bull has been the target of criticism concerning the possible health risks associated with the drink. A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that in the levels used in popular energy drinks, like Red Bull, taurine and glucuronolactone are safe.
HistoryRed Bull cans. Original Thai Red Bull bottle.
Chaleo Yoovidhya, the self-made Thai billionaire founded T.C. Pharmaceuticals. In the 1970s, it was first introduced in Thailand under brand called Krating Daeng, or Red Bull in English. It was popular among Thai truck drivers and laborers.
Chaleo then co-founded a company in 1984 with an Austrian partner who helped turn Red Bull into a global brand. The creation of Red Bull was inspired by the tonic drinks category of Japan and a drink in Thailand called Krating Daeng. Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian entrepreneur, developed the Red Bull Energy Drink brand. Mateschitz was the international marketing director for Blendax, a toothpaste company, when he visited Thailand in 1982 and discovered that Krating Daeng helped to cure his jet lag. Between 1984 and 1987, Mateschitz worked with TCBG Pharmaceutical (a Blendax licensee) to adapt a flavor and marketing strategy for theEuropean market.
At the same time Mateschitz and Chaleo Yoovidhya founded Red Bull GmbH; each investing $500,000 of savings and taking a stake in the new company. Chaleo and Dietrich each held a 49% share of the new company. They gave the remaining 2% to Chaleo's son Chalerm, but it was agreed that Mateschitz would run the company. The product was launched in 1987 in Austria, in a carbonated format.
In 1992 the product expanded to international markets: Hungary and Slovenia. It entered the United States via California in 1997 and the Middle East in 2000. In 2008, Forbes magazine listed both Chaleo and Mateschitz as the 250th richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of $4 billion.
Red Bull did not get market approval in France, Denmark, and Norway for several years, but the energy drink is now[when?] on sale in all 27 member states of the European Union and in 164 countries around the world.
The French approval process started in 1996 with concerns about taurine, a normal body constituent and also naturally present in the human diet (e.g., scallops, fish, poultry). This meant the drink could not be sold as-is in France. Instead, a different recipe that did not contain the ingredient was introduced. The refusal of market approval was challenged by the European Commission and partially upheld by theEuropean Court of Justice in 2004, before the French food safety agency relented in 2008 after being unable to prove definitively the existence of any health risk, taurine-related or not.