Posted June 29, 2012 by Big Red Boots in international caffeine

Lipovitan B3 energy drink

As you have probably guessed from the title of this drink, Lipovitan energy drink is all about the Bs.  Lipovitan’s maker, Taisho Pharmaceutical,  has been in the energy drink game for a very long time – over 50 years.  However, as you can imagine with a drug company, their main focus is not really on energy drinks, but on medicine and vitamins.  This completely shapes all aspects of their business, from their product’s packaging to how they sell their line.  For instance, their main product is Lipovitan (without the B3) which, like many Asian energy drinks, comes in a small 3 ounce glas bottle rather than in a big fizzy can.  Red Bull and many other energy drinks came in this syrupy concoction, and Lipovitan was no exception.  In fact, their old drinks looked more fitting in the bathroom cabinet than the fridge.

In their long line of products, Lipovitan B3 is the first one to actually tackle the classic energy drink, and they did not do such a bad job.  Of course, there are lots of problems too – but for an 80 year old company that may be mired down in overhead and politics, sometimes just doing anything at all is an accomplishment.

One of the things they did wrong is the packaging – from start to finish.  First – the good news is that they used an aluminum can.  While this does not sound like much of a feat, all their other products are made in dark brown glass – so this is the only one in their 80 years in can form.  The bad news is they did not know what do do with it in that format.  Their can is designed poorly, printed badly, does not list enough information and has an odd retro lid that just doe not work.

The printing is very cheap – looking like it came out of a dot matrix printer – lacking that mice glossy finish other drinks have.  Of course, all they were printing is a very minimalist and goofy design, something with a color scheme and layout like it was left back in 1985.  WIt even has callouts like “energy drink – with taurine!”  oooooooooh….

Functionally, it does not list caffeine content, as well as the taurine they are so proud of having.  Even the top tab seemed old fashioned and opened more like a juice can than that of a soda.  Overall, this is just embarrassing.

I might have rated this a little higher than I should have just because it surprised me so much by tasting good.  Lipovitan B3 had a number of strikes against it – and I expected this to taste like a bitter Red Bull clone.  It looked like a leftover clone – and was found in the back freezer in an asian market.
But the folk at Lipovitan did right here.  This has a definite Red Bull clone quality to it, but they did something to really make it fresh.  It was not bitter, but a little sour and creamy, like a Sweet Tarts smoothie.

Buzz: 5
Seeing as this drink was small sized, did not list the caffeine and was made by Taisho (their lipovitan shot did not have that much caffeine) I was not expecting to feel much of anything from this drink.  Surprisingly, I did feel a HUGE rush, for about 10 minutes.  The blast of energy came on, and then left me so sleepy I could barely make it off the light rail in time to get to work – I was like a zombie for a good 20 minutes after the rush wore off.

Maybe the ingredients settled – or maybe it was just a fluke cause by lack of sleep and nerves.  Either way, it was a bad enough experience that I will not be trying this one again.  If I really get a craving for some scary Asian goodness, I would happily drink down a coupe of their shots, which I reviewed here.

Big Red Boots