The Untold Truth Of Bang Energy Drinks

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to caffeinated beverages. While the options used to be mostly just coffee or tea, today there are countless different options to quench your thirst and deliver a nice caffeine boost. 

If you've got a tween in your house, spend any time on TikTok, or happen to be a fan of energy drinks, chances are you've heard of Bang. Bang energy drinks haven't been around for as long as competitors like Monster, but in just a decade they've made quite a name for themselves. 

For those who are unfamiliar, allow us to fill you in. Bang has quickly caught up to established names in the energy drink space thanks to its colorful cans and zany flavors. As of 2020, it was the number three best-selling energy drink brand in the U.S. according to Caffeine Informer. Bang isn't just flashy; it's also unique in its composition. Bang is packed with ingredients that not only provide energy but help with muscle-building and deliver nutrients needed for your body to perform at its best (or at least that's what the brand claims; as we'll get into, there's some controversy about this point). 

The work behind Bang first began in 1993

The road to Bang energy drinks began when parent company Vital Pharmaceuticals, also known as VPX Sports, was founded by Jack Owoc in 1993 (per PR Newswire). His vision was to create a sports supplement company that delivered safe, quality products that brought scientifically-backed results.

"I took decisive action using intensive scientific research and development to innovate and create supplements that yielded extreme efficacy and impeccable purity – to create a sports and performance nutrition company that tested and set the highest standards for quality," Owoc shares on the company's website. "I declared and committed to deliver super-premium quality sports and performance nutrition products backed by evidence-based scientific research." 

From there, development on Bang began. According to The Silicon Review, the brand was incorporated in 1996. Jack Owoc told the publication that he wanted his business to be more like "a pharmaceutical company, not a supplement company." One way Bang accomplishes this is by testing all the ingredients they receive before using them in beverages.

The first Bang energy drinks hit store shelves in 2012

Although VPX had been around since the '90s, Bang energy drinks weren't released to the public until late 2012 (via New Hope Network). The drinks were different than others on the market for a number of reasons. Their flashy packaging was reminiscent of competitors like Monster or Rockstar, but the drink inside the can contained several novel ingredients.

Founder Jack Owoc hoped to change the market with a drink that he claimed delivered a boost of energy without the unhealthy crash that came from drinks loaded with sugar. "I was unhappy with the beverage category and wanted to create a unique carbonated beverage that was health promoting, not health destroying," he explained in a press release published on BevNet. "Bang optimizes synergistic ingredients for energy, not just an immediate effect. Bang in unlike any carbonated beverage on the market because it's sugar-free, calorie-free, and contains no artificial ingredients."

It took a while for Bang to attain the popularity the energy drink brand has today, but by the end of the decade, the company was well on its way after experiencing growth of 80% from 2019 to 2020, according to Caffeine Informer.

Bang has an insane amount of caffeine

It wouldn't be an energy drink without delivering some serious energy, and Bang definitely doesn't disappoint. Per Bang's website, every 16-ounce can delivers 300 milligrams of caffeine. To put that in perspective, that's nearly double the amount of caffeine in a can of Monster the same size, which has 160 milligrams of caffeine (via Monster Energy).

Bang's sugar-free, zero-calorie formula aims at bringing that extra energy without a serious crash afterward or any negative dietary effects, and the brand's founder told The Silicon Review that "The prodigious amounts of caffeine in Bang Energy drinks can be great for vitality, mental focus, and even weight loss." However, he qualified that statement with the warning that "there is also a point when caffeine intake becomes too much." 

Owoc also noted that 400 milligrams of caffeine is the upper limit that the FDA recommends per day, which we confirmed on the agency's website. That is why Bang is not recommended to be used alongside other caffeine products. Additionally, he pointed to caffeine-free Bang as an option for those who are concerned about their caffeine consumption.

Creatine sets it apart from many competitors

After caffeine, super creatine is the next thing that helps Bang stand out in a crowded energy drink market. Specifically, the brand uses a proprietary product they call "super creatine," which they claim is a water-soluble creatine-amino acid peptide. The creatine is bonded to L-Leucine, which is a type of amino acid that builds proteins within your body (via Total Shape).

The creatine used in Bang is not FDA-certified, and the writer at Total Shape notes that Bang doesn't list the super creatine content in each can. Healthline says that the safe amount for daily consumption is between 3 and 5 grams daily. It's unclear whether or not Bang's creatine content falls within this safe window.

There's some controversy over whether Bang actually contains creatine at all. Bang is the subject of a lawsuit over its creatine claims. The suit alleges that there is little to no actual creatine in the beverage, according to ClassAction.org.

Bang has a wide variety of interesting flavors

Part of the draw of Bang energy drinks, especially to younger audiences, is the variety of interesting flavors they are available in. As of early 2022, there are over 30 flavors of Bang energy drinks listed on the brand's website. The flavors have fun, zany names, such as Rainbow Unicorn, Radical Skadattle, and Bangster Berry. They may not always give away what the drink will taste like, but the catchy names and each flavor's unique can design help consumers identify their favorites more easily.

Fans are passionate about which flavors are their favorites. One Redditor even rated all the flavors in a tier system, with Radical Skadattle, Purple Kiddles, and Cherry Blade Lemonade as 10/10 picks. On the other end of the spectrum, Miami Cola was the lowest rated, which a number of commenters disputed. We also have our own ranking of Bang flavors if you don't trust the opinions of one anonymous Redditor. The wide spectrum of flavors ensures that Bang fans never have to get tired of drinking the same thing over and over again.

Bang has experienced a lot of growth since 2019

Bang energy drinks enjoyed 80% growth from 2019 to 2020, selling $780 million worth of energy drinks in the year leading up to the pandemic (via Beverage Industry). 

Bang also experienced serious growth in its energy shot business that year. After failing to crack the top 10 in 2019, Bang energy shots sales grew by 438.6%, earning $10.7 million in 2020. That made Bang number five in that category for the year.

Performance energy drinks experienced significant growth from 2020 to 2021. Bang's sales continued to grow, and the company held its number three spot on the best-selling energy drink list behind Red Bull and Monster. The energy drink market as a whole grew that year, despite the drop in convenience store business due to the pandemic. Bang's $1.2 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ending in June 13, 2021 marked a 9.1% increase over the same period the year prior, according to Beverage Industry.

Bang makes more than just energy drinks

Bang is big in the energy drink business, but that's not all the company has to offer. Aside from Bang energy drinks, which come in classic and caffeine-free varieties, the company's website also lists Bang energy shots, Bang pre-workout, Bang keto coffee, Bang sweet tea, a Bang fat burner, and Bang hard seltzer.

At the time of writing, Bang energy shots are available in 14 different flavors. The pre-workout is available in three different varieties, two of which are caffeine-free. The keto coffee is available in three different varieties, as is the sweet tea. 

There is also a line of Bang 5% nicotine vapes that use similar branding and logo design to VPX's Bang products (via West Coast Vape Supply). It's unclear if these are actually made by the same company as the energy drinks, however, as they are not listed on Bang's website, and a vape product doesn't seem like a natural fit for a brand that prides itself on health claims.

Bang is in a number of legal battles

As Bang energy drinks get bigger and bigger, they are attracting a number of legal battles. Bang was the receiving end of a lawsuit from competitor Monster, according to the Los Angeles Times. Monster's 2019 lawsuit accused Bang of "flagrant consumer deception and systematic anti-competitive business practices" as well as "deceiving the public about the product's ingredients and the benefits of consumption." Monster's suit claimed that super creatine was basically fake, and also that Bang stole proprietary information from Monster by hiring former Monster employees. This came on the heals of the class-action suit we mentioned above that alleged that Bang did not contain the amount of certain ingredients that it specified (via ClassAction.org).

Bang also leveled a lawsuit of its own in 2020. The company filed a lawsuit against distributor PepsiCo, who the brand signed with earlier the same year. Per Food Dive, Bang claims that Pepsi "has falsely represented to independent distributors and retailers that PepsiCo is Bang's exclusive distributor." The suit additionally claims that Pepsi used intimidation tactics to get major retailers to purchase their supply of Bang exclusively through Pepsi.

Bang is a hit with the TikTok crowd, but the platform led to some trouble

Bang energy's unique products set the brand apart, and the company's social media presence is also built different from the competition. Notably, Bang went all-in on TikTok, joining the creator-friendly space in 2019 (via Bang Energy Blog). One of Bang's early TikTok experiments was sponsoring  a Floridian TikTok creator graffiti house. Local content creators came together at the home and let their creative energy flow, fueled in part by Bang.

Bang's work with influencers has led to partnerships with some of TikTok's biggest rising talents, including Tony Lopez, Alex Warren, Bryce Hall, and Sam Pepper, according to Meme Marketing. Often, these creators are just doing their own thing, making their usual content, but with an ever-present can of the energy drink in frame. By not forcing any specifics on these creators, Bang's content feels more natural than other sponsored content.