Saturday, July 28, 2012

"5-Hour Energy": The Untold Story

You've doubtlessly been bombarded over the last few years with TV commercials for the shot-sized energy drink '5-hour Energy.' If so, you probably also know that it contains no sugar and "contains caffeine comparable to a cup of the leading premium coffee."

ConsumerLab analyzed a bottle of '5-hour Energy' in October 2010, however, and found that it contained 207 mg of caffeine. "According to the USDA, one cup (8 fluid ounces) of brewed coffee contains an average 95 mg of caffeine. The same serving of Starbucks coffee has 180 mg of caffeine."  You can read the press release about the analysis HERE.

But elevated caffeine content isn't the biggest revelation. THIS article, published by Forbes in February, profiles the company's founder, Manoj Bhargava, a 58 year-old Indian immigrant and Princeton drop-out who made his first fortune in plastics. "Vague and inscrutable is how ­Bhargava likes things."

When I hear '5-hour Energy' pitched relentlessly on sports talk radio,  a 58 year-old Indian PVC magnate is not what first comes to mind.

But he's got a great personal story with many twists and turns, and '5-hour Energy' is now very big business, apparently. "The privately held Living Essentials doesn’t report revenue or profits, but a source with knowledge of its financials says the company grossed north of $600 million last year on that $1 billion at retail. The source says the company netted about $300 million."

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