Sparks: An Energy/Alcohol Drink Alternative to Red Bull and Vodka

Pitched as an alternative to ‘so last year’ Red Bull-and-vodka combinations, a fresh drink on the market proposes to be the top choice to get your alcohol fix with a zap of energy. Launched in 8 oz. steel cans, Sparks is quickly gaining a reputation amongst partygoers and trendsetters as the newest addition to the energy-drink market. The 6% alcohol content doesn’t deter the mainstream crowd; shaped like a battery, the vibrant orange and metal silver cans are almost toy-like in composition.
Sparks offers a very sweet, orange-citrus flavor in its carbonated mixture. The energy-plus-alcohol concotion includes the addition of taurine in an effort to increase the energy boosting effects. The vodka cocktails of yesterday may no longer fit the bill; Sparks hopes to advance its brand status through a variety of band sponsored events, online response rates, and their interactive website.

The Sparks website offers consumers the chance to review a daily posting of the ‘Reaction of the Day.’ These stories are posted by drinkers of the product, classified as the ‘Control Group.’ The Sparks website also maintains press-related information, the launch of its 10oz. cans, and a local store and venue locator. It offers its ingredients list in a ‘classified information’ style, announcing its alcohol/caffeine/taurine hybrid fusion as a ‘classified procedure.’ Ginseng and taurine are the two key ingredients added to the drink to create the synergestic energy effect. However, the effects after consumption are determined by the user’s tolerance level, as with all alcoholic drinks.

Sparks has recently been acquired by Miller Brewing Company of Milwaukee. Since Miller has not entered the caffeinated alcoholic beverage market in many areas, the acquisition of Sparks may serve its brand purpose. Miller currently offers the ‘Mickey’s Stinger’ line in some western states, but Sparks may offer a new promotion and already-growing target market group.

Medical News Today research reports have indicated that there is still potential danger with energy drinks and alcohol combinations; many people don’t realize their tolerance levels when consuming these drinks, and of course the effects of alcohol are numerous and pose their own risks. The September 2004 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research reports that Red BullÃ?®, and alcohol does not improve a person’s physical performance in any way. In fact, it may increase the effects of alcohol in some people.

Still, the alcoholic energy drink market continues to be popular amongst many market segments; these include partygoers, club hoppers, bars, social events, and band sponsorships. As the trend continues, Sparks may find itself competing head-to-head with Red Bull�® and vodka fans. The appealing packaging and overall brand concepts drive products such as Sparks into new markets, and will continue to do so in the upcoming years as former Red Bull�® fans lead the way.

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