West Eats East
Energy drinks: non-alcohol beverages, with or without carbonation, to invigorate you to recover from fatigue quickly and move forward positively in these busy days. Since birth, humans have been searching for such a thing and trying many things, and will continue to do so. It is part of our ultimate, eternal desire to live long and active by all means. Medicinal plants, fungus, minerals and alcohol, currently legal or illegal, have been our agents to pursue such a goal. They have been also fomented often for communicating with gods in most civilizations. Drinks in liquid form are more susceptible to dissolve or suspend functional ingredients which can be more quickly absorbed than in solid food form, which requires longer time in digestion. Besides, liquid form is good for supplementing moisture to the body, which is another key element for recovery.
History recorded Chinese emperors had spent enormous time and resources to seek magic potions or stuff for eternal youth and longevity all over their territories and beyond. A utopia where people lived happily without any annoyance of struggles with economy and health was also sought. They wanted to warp into such a dream state or land in this and the other world. Among them, garlic, wild onion, ginseng, tea leaves a source of caffeine and many other medicinal plants-herbs were found promising not only in Asia but also in the Silk Road territories and beyond. Ordinary people utilizing those found recovery from fatigue, early symptom remedy or simple refreshment as well. Thus health drinks were innovated and consumed seriously all over the Far East. When a bottling facility became available, health drinks started to be produced in a bottle or packaged commercially. Vitamins, minerals and functional materials are further added for enhancing health functions in the commercial production. People anticipate something magically healthy in such drinks for materializing our ever-lasting dream, physiologically and psychologically.
In the Far East including Japan, commercially manufactured health drinks have been very popular primarily for two specific reasons or anticipations. One is for quick recovery from a hangover. Another is for stronger macho functions. Such drinks range from simple carbonated drinks with vitamins and minerals to ginseng drinks under or out of pharmaceutical regulations like medicine or supplement. In other words, health drinks were created for males to behave like a strong macho. TV commercials or ads target only to men accordingly. A man who is hungover gulps such a drink at a train station kiosk in the morning. A golfer also drinks before starting playing for betting on scores. It is not a doping. As a matter of course, it is also a common scene prior to disappearing into the dark at night in red zones. Such a macho market was there but limited. The manufacturers tried to expand such a health drink macho market into a wider general public soft drink market by launching a clean, healthy image for all gender and age sections. Sugar, carbonation, less medicinal image and other soft drink characters are brought into health drinks to convert into an energy drink. An energy drink can be then defined as a soft drink version of health drinks for anyone for both refreshing and invigorating.
Our current energy drinks have a well-tested record in Asian and Japanese markets. Again one of the biggest soft drink entities of the world launched one in Japan after canned coffee drinks. It added an image of soft drinks for anyone who felt the need to boost energy. Its market expanded as intended including children, though this market was not intended to be included. Some parents believed it good for longer, eager studying for better grades, which eventually would lead to admission to good schools. It is not a sports drink like Gatorade which primarily supplies water and mineral electrolytes which are lost in sweat in sport activities.
Now in our market, soft drink manufactures and newcomers have launched it, targeting young people, both male and female, who may need an instant kick occasionally in their busy routine. Caffeine is a significant ingredient to promote its function just like coffee. It may provide physiological and also psychological effect to satisfy desire to gain power for the thing to come next. Its store shelf appears to have been expanding. I personally have no idea of making a mix with alcohol. Besides, I am not so young anymore for such a drink. An energy drink seems the one for younger people who need full energy ahead.