Energy drinks

In the 1990s, one of my farang bosses was concerned by the curious behavior that Bangkok taxi and tuk-tuk drivers had of making quick stops into little shops and coming back with a small brown bottle. At first he was worried that all of the taxi drivers in Bangkok were alcoholics and he declared that employees that need to travel in taxis must wear seat belts. Eventually, someone told him that the little brown bottles were not alcoholic drinks, but they were energy drinks. He was intrigued by these energy drinks and some of the girls in the office made fun of his interest, telling him it was a drink for taxi drivers, not high powered businessmen.

Maybe back then they didn’t realize that a European partner would help make Red Bull (gives you wings!) a leading brand name in more than 100 countries and the Thai owner of Krating Daeng (Red Bull) would soon be included in every “world’s richest” list. In Thailand, it was not only taxi drivers that drank this. Late night partiers mixed energy drinks with their alcohol, keeping them going all night (back when the bars were open all night). The energy drinks are also used by many Thais as a hangover cure.

These drinks are packed with a combination of vitamins (mostly B-complex vitamins), caffeine, and other ingredients that are known for boosting energy and mental alertness. I don’t think that any of the ingredients are dangerous but I also believe there is such a thing as too much of a good thing so I am cautious about using energy drinks. I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine; a nice cup of green tea is enough to keep me happy.

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