Monday, October 21, 2013

QuikTrip Energy Drinks!

They take generic greatness to lofty new heights...

With this being the Halloween season and everything, I suppose it's obvious why so much of my October load has been monster and candy-related stuff. Not that I'm complaining in the slightest here...after all, this is the time of year I look forward to more than any other, of course. That said, I figured it was worth a miniature monster moratorium to discuss something I encountered recently. Something that surprised me. Well, not by a lot, but some. Clearly, things that minimally important are WORTH discussing on a national forum.

So, in the southeast, there's a popular regional gas station called QuikTrip. It may or may not be a common chain throughout the U.S., and I'm too lazy to do any research, so if you don't live in the south and you still have some around your neighborhood...well, I guess that's cool and stuff. But, yeah, distractions: the important thing you need to know is, QuikTrip recently unveiled their OWN line of energy drinks, and they are absolutely awe-inspiring in their simplicity.

These are what the energy drinks in "1984" would've probably looked like, if George Orwell had envisioned energy drinks way back in the 1940s. So nondescript, so mundane, so unbelievably basic -- it's almost like the guys at QT's marketing department said "no, let's have a design that makes the cans less noticeable to potential buyers." Standard red, standard white, and the words "ENERGY" scrawled on them, with a store logo so un-emphasized, you have to wonder whether or not the company initially forgot to tack their own emblem on the products and had to recall the first batch of shipments and quickly stamp it on the aluminum.  As far as "anti-corporate" iconography, it looks like QT out-Jones Soda-ed Jones Soda on these two. 

As you probably deduced for yourself, there are two variations on store shelves. The first, called -- rather unimaginatively, I might add -- "Original," is the one in the crimson tall boy. I really wish there was more to show you here, but yeah, that's pretty much it. If you stare hard enough though, you can make it some faint DNA strands on the left-hand side. You know, because nothing says "energy" quite like ionic bonds and shit...

As far as the taste of the beverage goes, I'm not really what you would call a connoisseur of energy drinks. In fact, my entire life, I think I can count on one hand the total number of beverages of the sort that I've ingested. With that in mind, the QT Original seemed to taste like...well, every other energy drink I've ever had. It's fruity, but also sorta' tart -- in essence, it tastes JUST like a liquefied jug of Smarties. As far as additional tastes, there may have been some kinda' funky artificial strawberry/cherry thing going on, but it was relatively subdued compared to the beverage's overpowering sweet-tart-ed-ness

The QT Original's shelf-mate is the "low carb" iteration. As you can no doubt see, the can utilizes more or less the exact same design as the original version, albeit in a paler hue and with much more pronounced chemical ion doo-hickies. And if it's not the single most generic looking aluminum can I've ever seen, it has to be in the top five. Easily. 

As far as the taste on this one is concerned, it tastes fairly similar to the original mix, albeit much more watered-down and just a tad sweeter than it is tart. In terms of fizz and texture, it's pretty much the same drink. Needless to say, this one does feel a tad lighter in your stomach than the original blend, so deciding which one is superior probably hinges on your preferences that afternoon: if you want something a little richer and more filling, go with the red one. And if you want something a little less stomach-engorging, and more saccharine, you'd do all right by white. 

I suppose there's nothing too remarkable about either beverage, but at the same time, neither energy drink are really bad either. In fact, they're hyper-sweet taste started to grow on me after awhile, and I relatively enjoyed both offerings. There's a warning on the side of the can that urges pregnant women and "those that may be sensitive to the effects of caffeine" to limit their intake of said products. Well folks, I'm apparently pregnant or the latter, because after downing both of these beverages in the same night, I was literally wired for two hours straight. Like, my face felt numb, and all sounds seemed to move at half their normal speed. About an hour in, I really couldn't feel my own body any more -- like, I was completely unable to register my own heartbeat. Eventually, I managed to slow down, but the kick on these things, it is DEFINITELY worth noting, is quite severe. But on the plus side, you can get two pounds of liquid crack for just $2, and you need something to keep you awake during marathon screenings of "Friday the 13th" movies on AMC, don't you?

To conclude? The "QT Energy" drinks are at least reasonably yummy, extraordinarily inexpensive, and they make you go into "bullet time" in real-life. And perhaps this is the first shot -- the literal Fort Sumter, if you will -- of an all new "gas station chain beverage war?" If that's indeed the case, the ante has been raised considerably by QT. How Kangaroo responds, we'll just have to wait and see...


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