Reviewed: August 8, 2007
Type: Energy Drink
In the fast-paced world of video games, endless multiplayer sessions on Xbox Live, and sleepless LAN parties, energy drinks have become as popular with the gaming culture as Starbucks has with corporate America. For every Wall Street yuppie nursing their double latte, there are five hardcore gamers slamming back can after can of caffeine-infused flavored drinks.
It’s a billion dollar industry and everybody is trying to get their slice of the high-octane pie including North America's only fully integrated premium branded beverage company, Leading Brands, Inc. On June 19th they launched STOKED Energy Drink and the gaming world might never be the same.
This new entry into the competitive world of energy drinks seems to come with more backstory than most of the games people drinking it are playing. Check this hype out:
STOKED Energy Drink evolves from its dramatic Dragon icon. Dragons are wise and complex creatures that have a strong presence in almost every culture of the World. From the most revered sign of the Chinese Zodiac to Draco, one of the largest constellations in the Northern sky, to the tale behind the classic red cross English banner so popular at soccer events, to the main characters in numerous popular US movies, Dragons have played - and continue to play - an important role in history and folklore. A visceral connection to the human psyche such as this is critical to establishing any new brand.
In keeping with Leading Brands' commitment to bring healthier products to market, STOKED is formulated with natural sugars, not genetically modified HFCS as used by other energy drinks. Great taste is also an important part of any Leading Brands' product and STOKED is no exception there. Initially launched in 16 oz. cans in four distinctive flavors: Original, Sugar Free, Tropical Orange and Dragonberry, STOKED beats out all other major energy drinks in Leading Brands' taste tests.
I recently had a chance to sample a 12-pack of STOKED, the original flavor, and I have to confess this is the absolute best-tasting energy beverage I have ever had the pleasure of drinking – even better than Bawls (my previous favorite). I’ve tried plenty of these energy drinks over the years, Rockstar, Monster, etc. and while they all serve their purpose (keeping my eyelids riveted to my forehead) they almost always come with a nasty aftertaste.
Sadly, the only thing going against STOKED is that they warn you to not consume more than two cans per day. I commend their concern for my health in favor of profit, because I could easily have drank all 12 in a single day – they are just that good.
I waited until around 11pm before I drank my first STOKED and I had my second around midnight. That’s when the eye-popping fun began. On a normal evening of drinking Diet Coke I will start to nod off around 3am, but I was going strong, playing games on the Xbox 360 while downloading demos on the PS3 and reading the manual for my new THX home theater system during load screens. Around 6am I decided to go to bed, not because I was tired but because my eyes were burning from not blinking for the past six hours. I tossed and turned until around 7am before finally slipping into a post-caffeinated coma.
While this might sound scary and even dangerous by medical standards, STOKED does exactly what it sets out to do. It’s an energy supplement that definitely WAKES YOU UP and keeps your awake, and two 16oz cans can keep you going strong for at least six more hours, even at the tail end of your day. I woke up a few hours later and felt surprisingly good as I headed off to work.
I probably wouldn’t drink STOKED regularly, or even recreationally, but it is great for emergencies, like when you need to cram for a test or rise to the top of the Halo leaderboards. I had some of the other GCM staff partake in some sampling of STOKED and the results were unanimous – this stuff ROCKS…can I have another?
Sadly, STOKED is still pretty hard to find in the US. While more than 1,500 stores in Canada are stocking this new drink, you can only find STOKED in a few California and Washington State outlets, at least for now. And even after an hour of GOOGLING I still can’t find a place to order it over the Internet or even what a can costs.
So if you live in Canada, California, or Washington, or have better luck finding an online outlet than I did, you really should check out STOKED. If you are a regularly consumer of caffeinated soda or high-energy beverages you won’t find a more refreshing and energizing drink with virtually no negative side-effects other than fueling whatever caffeine addiction you might already have.
STOKED will rock your world.