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Energy Buzz

The energy drink trend gives you entrepreneurial wings-that's no Red Bull.

NEXT UP:Boba-licious
Starbucks is over. OK, maybe not over-but in for some serious competition from the new drink on the block, boba milk tea. A yummy concoction that can be frothy and frosty or clear, the drink isn't complete without gummy tapioca "pearls" at the bottom of the glass. About the size of small marbles, they're sucked through the extra-wide straws for a groovy drinking/chewing hybrid that's becoming all the rage in tea bars and college towns nationwide.

Sound weird? Even I was skeptical about drinking and chewing my beverage at the same time-but I was immediately hooked. So if your business always has to be on top of the latest trends, this may be your cup o' tea.

It's energy, and you need it. But do you need it in an 8 oz. can? The answer is yes, if consumers swilling Red Bull-type energy drinks by the gallon are any indication. Typically filled with natural additives like ginseng and taurine, plus a healthy sprinkling of caffeine, these drinks are aimed at the groovy young crowd-who might use them to wake up for an all-night study session or to kick-start a night on the town. The latest craze is to mix the concoctions with vodka for an added wallop. According to the Beverage Marketing Corp., the energy drink market is expected to exceed $150 million in 2001.

Wanting a piece of that pie is J. Darius Bikoff, founder and president of Energy Brands Inc., who launched his Go-Go line of energy drinks in 1996. Being one of the first American companies to get into the game, Bikoff, 39, focused on building an image and identity for Go-Go and differentiating Go-Go from the other energy drinks on the shelves. The market is so hot, even the big boys want to play-Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola entered the market with 180 and KMX.

For Bikoff, 2001 brought a revamp to Energy Brands' packaging and message-including the super-hip animated Go-Go girl, complete with go-go boots, a hot red dress and lots of attitude. "She's got a tremendous amount of self-confidence and character-and great things to say," says Bikoff. With revenues increasing 300 percent annually over the past three years, who wouldn't?


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This article was originally published in the June 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Energy Buzz.

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