Posted June 21, 2012 by Big Red Boots in straight up energy drink

S Power Energy drink

This is the unfortunate review of an energy drink found in a very unfortunate area – doomed to failure with little promise.  My son found a can of S Power energy drink for me in the back woods of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, one of the poorest and most destitute places in America.  To those who’s life’s problems revolve around getting their tablet to sync to their new macs and deciding between a Smart Car or plunking down cash for a new 300cc Vespa,  it would be impossible to imagine life in the Pine Ridge Rez, where you are lucky enough to afford running water or electricity.

When the annual income of the 28,000-40,000 resident population of Pine Ridge has an  80% unemployment rate, spending an extra two bucks on soda is pretty ridiculous.  Especially, when there is good alcohol that could be spent instead.  That is the one extravagance which the residents of Pine Ridge spend whatever money they do have, with an alcoholism rate 300% higher than anywhere else in the country.  Even theVice President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Tom Poor Bear, (He has been trying to sue beer companies for selling to the Tribes), has been arrested recently for blood-alcohol content at .306, nearly quadruple the legal limit for driving.  The poverty and hopelessness that runs so deep in this community, fueled by cheap beer and liquor have made the roads scary to drive on, .

A Pine Ridge convenience store is such a strange place to find a unique and obviously European drink.  No one in Pine Ridge would buy this energy drink.  The average yearly income for a resident of Pine Ridge is around 6-7 grand a year, which does not eave a lot of extra cash for cheap bad knock off energy drinks like S Power.  My eldest son was on a trip for school fixing up a skate park in Pine Ridge, and during a break he managed to stop by one of these stores to find me this unique energy drink. This can of S Power is a real enigma – how did it get all the way out here?  Not to mention, it did it well before the expiration date?  Figuring the drink, the company that made it and even the advertising firm connected to it has long since gone out of business made things even more strange.  In a place where living life is so hard (the life expectancy of the population is only about 50 years old, and the infant mortality rate is 5 times higher than the national average), finding this drink still fresh is quite odd.

Unfortunately, S Power is just another fatality of the area – a leftover that most people will never think about, promising much but delivering little.

Packaging: 8
The one thing S Power has going for it is it looks decent.  Although I kept thinking the name for the drink was Spower, as all the letters blended together, it still looks nice sitting on the lonely shelves. A great designer named Maciej Rychlik did a decent job designing the can which conveys power and energy without overdoing it on the Xtremeness.   The printing job on the can was pretty weak, and showed that S Power did not really have the cash to spend on a quality printing job.

The only things that seemed a little strange were the 5-hour energy silhouetted dudes being energetic (running, playing guitar, going to a meeting) and no double facing. However, the can is just a small 8oz drink, so there might not have been a whole lot of room.

One of the stranger things is from looking at the energy ingredients list, this is a European drink.  There is a European nutrition label, and closer inspection uncovers the info that this drink is made in the EU someplace and brought over to the US by a firm in Chicago.  The company making the drink, the importers and their respective websites have all gone – so it will just have to stay a mystery how it got all the way out there.

Taste: 4
This is  boring bitter Red Bull clone, which I am sure will piss off the people who were in Pine Ridge drinking this.  When you want an energy drink, it should taste like you expect it to – or better.    Spending a couple bucks on a drink to have it just remind you that you did not get an actual Red Bull and are left with the flavor of Tylenol and crabapples is just sad.  There is a lot of Citric acid in here, along with the usual flavors of herbs and B vitamins.  I would chalk some of this to the date it was made or settling, but in both cases it does not look like it applies – this is just a clone – and not a terribly good one at that.

Buzz: 5
Coming from Europe, the buzz in S Power is the same as every other energy drink mandated by the European Union – just barely less that 80mg per 8 ounce can.  Specifically, there is 32mg per serving, and they list 2.5 servings in a can.  I understand the EU made the rules, but can you imagine just drinking 100ml of soda and having enough?  That is just barely more than three ounces in a serving – which is ridiculous.

There is the regular energy drink stuff in here – a bit of taurine, inositol and the usual B vitamin mix too.    The crazy thing is, if this was a super-value brand, I could see it working in a town where almost everyone is far below the poverty level.  If this was under a buck, it might be a way to get your cold caffeine fix, but for a regular priced energy drink, I could see why these could sit on the shelf for a good couple years.

Big Red Boots