Saturday, March 16, 2013

Roaring Lion Au Natural

Roaring Lion is a Red Bull clone, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  As a matter of fact, Roaring lion goes out of their way to be a great clone, going places that Red Bull refuses to go and filling that niche whiel giving the consumer the taste and kick of the real thing.  The biggest place to find Roaring Lion drinks are on the gun of your local bar, as they provide bars and restaurants a very attractive option - not having to stock all those damn cans of Red Bull.

The thing is, Red Bull by the case load is an annoying thing to deal with.  You need to have them around, as energy drink cocktails are popular.  But, they take up room, are expensive, and become extra pricey when your staff drinks them.   Red Bull does not come on the gun, the same way Coke or ginger ale do - allowing the bartender  to just squirt it in the drink and be done with it.   Roaring Lion does just that, and virtually eliminates the cost or having to keep cans of Red Bull around, while still giving the drinker the exact same buzz and exact same flavor.

Only now that is not so exact - while roaring Lion is still the same flavor, now it comes in an all-natural variety as well.  Roaring Lion's natural flavor and buzz are almost exactly the same as a Red Bull, only now give the impression of a more healthy option.  

Most of the time, you will never see the bottle of Roaring Lion drinks.  Except for one time is a small gas station many years ago in a small mountain town, I have never seen a can of this on the shelves.   However, a huge amount of bars and pubs serve Roaring Lion - coming in the typical syrup bag-in-a-box from the soda gun at the bar.  So, packaging is not all that important to the brand, but my sample did come in a 16 ounce plastic bottle, nicely wrapped and ready to hit the shelves.

Well, almost ready.   Roaring Lion chose for their package to basically do what they have done before with their drink cans, only use a much lighter background.  That would not be bad, except the text is white to - so you end up with white on white - and a barely readable ingredients list.  along with that, there is no listing of caffeine content anywhere, which is annoying.  I like the overall idea, but printing so light on the package means that someone was not paying enough attention to make something readable.  For most people who drink this they will never tell what the package is, but for the few who are going to get this in the bottle i is pretty annoying.

Since Red Bull is the standard for taste, and this tastes just like a Red Bull, scoring 5 is just what you would want from this drink.   It in no way tastes better or worse than a red bull - and is so close to the flavor of an actual Red Bull you would never know that it was made from different ingredients.     I have drank hundreds of Red Bull clones - literally.  Most have a slightly different edge to them - more vanilla, less sweetness, something.  This really tastes just like a Red Bull - even though the ingredients are much better.

And in this case they are much better.  This is Roaring Lion' s natural version of their energy drink, so the ingredients list is much nicer than the usual preservative filled energy drinks you are used to. The problem is that  Natural really does not mean anything - anyone can put the word Natural on their drinks - there is no governing body defining natural, unlike having something be Organic - which you are only allowed to use if you get it certified.

Natural also does not mean healthy.  Organic fair trade cage free pig lard is still pig lard.    In this case - the natural sugar is still sugar, and the calories are still just as empty.  Still, I do like it that they switched to more natural ingredients - except for the preservatives and artificial flavors.  They used natural taurine - which I did not think was even possible (taurine is a synthetic ingredient).

In terms of energy, it is a Red Bull's dose.  Although they don't list it, that would be around 160mg for the 16 ounce container, and gives a moderate boost that lasts a good couple hours.  I like seeing that a company who started off as just a clone manufacturer saw a market niche and filled it - coming out with something that you don't see coming from standard energy drink manufacturers.   It will be interesting to see if other manufacturers like Coca Cola or Rockstar  come out with their own versions now.

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