The Mysterious Energy Drink Sponsoring America’s F1 Team Tastes Like Ass

Alex Goy May 21, 2019. 24 comments

A while back, Jalopnik’s own Alanis King and Elizabeth Blackstock looked in to Formula One’s strangest sponsor, Rich Energy . If you’re baffled as to how a come-out-of-nowhere energy drink that’s difficult to find (at best) can sponsor an F1 team, you’re not alone. Amid the facts and figures in that story, what stuck out to me is that Rich Energy is apparently available in the UK, yet the six people sent out to find it came up empty.

Because of a childish urge to possess what I apparently can’t have, I developed an overwhelming desire to taste Rich Energy and see if it made me feel rich and gave me energy.

I did. It’s not gone well.

The official explanation for Jalopnik’s team finding no evidence of it on UK shores was that the company was “targeting clubs, bars, hotels and high-end wine shops” as it launched. Okay, so it’s in swanky places.

While my clubbing days are long behind me, I enjoy a jar as much as the next guy, so I went looking for it whenever I was out. No dice. Maybe I was wasn’t drinking in classy enough establishments. After getting stung for £80 ($102) for the privilege of three tequila shots and three terribly made espresso martinis in a swanky Mayfair bar (the type of place designed for people who don’t blink at being overcharged for drinks and think a sparkler attached to a bottle of champagne is the pinnacle of cool) a while back, I avoid the area like the plague.

But, I thought, perhaps Rich Energy lives behind the bars there?

Anyway, rather than fruitlessly search for a premium energy drink in bars full of people I don’t like, I figured it would be easier to order some in. This was a naïve assumption.

Rich Energy’s website has slabs of 24 cans at a time on sale for the princely sum of £30 plus £6.50 for shipping ($47). You have to be over 16 years old to purchase it, per a warning on the site.

You’d expect an F1 sponsor and “premium” drink brand to have its own in-house payment system sorted, but Rich Energy is a PayPal affair only, which seemed odd to me. Money payed, a slip saying that order #000000384 was all in hand appeared on my screen.

Then the wait. Not for the slab, but for email confirmation from Rich Energy that I’ve successfully ordered some fizzy stay awake juice from them. It never came. I did get an email from PayPal telling me I’d pledged money to Rich Energy, but nothing from the company.

My order was placed on May 3 and I kinda forgot about it for a few days, expecting something in the form of actual comms to appear eventually.

On the 10th I became an impatient consumer and did two things. The first was go to Amazon and see if they had any. They did: a three pack for £4.99 ($6.40) and a 12 pack for £17.99 ($23) with free standard delivery, and the 24 tin slab for £30 ($38) and free delivery with Prime. I threw a three-pack in my cart and paid up just in case my original order went missing.

The second thing I did was email Rich Energy with my order number and ask where my magical energy juice actually was. In fairness their rep, Tom, Rich Energy’s Business Manager, replied quickly, apologized profusely and told me that my order was indeed on the way. It arrived a few days later. Initial delivery was scheduled for the 13th, but I was out so rearranged for the 14th.

And lo, after plenty of faff, I’m the proud owner for 27 cans of Rich Energy. It’s real.

So what does it taste like? Well, to give it a fair chance I went for three taste tests. Room temperature, chilled, and with a healthy slug of vodka to see if your VodkaBull should graduate to a VodkaRich.

Taste Test One: Straight Out Of The Slab

Seeing as you’re a sentient human being, you’ve probably had an energy drink before and are vaguely familiar with the chemical smell that seems to come with all of them. Rich Energy has it, sure, but it’s softer than expected on first glug.

On top of that there’s a hint of icing sugar, making it seem more like candy than a drink that’ll give you enough energy to kick a Clydesdale to death (maybe).

After the good, comes the bad. The aftertaste isn’t all that great. It seems to my admittedly unrefined palate that once the initial sugary delightfulness fades you’re left with something rather artificial in its place, and that stuff LINGERS. In the hour since my first can and I could still taste it. On top of an aftertaste like I’ve been swimming in chemicals the inside of my mouth feels all fuzzy and coated. It didn’t leave me thinking: “Wow, what a great thing to drink, I must have more!”, rather: “This is horrid.”

Here’s a reaction shot if the very first swig. Apologies for my general dishevelledness, I’d not long been out of bed and, somewhat depressingly, Rich Energy was my breakfast.

Even though she doesn’t say it often, I’m sure my mother is proud of my life choices.

As we all know, energy drinks, premium or otherwise, are supposed to give you a little boost to help your morning/afternoon/full moon party along. Rich Energy certainly pepped me up.

I’ve not been a regular energy drink consumer for a long time, as I’m British I get my caffeine mostly from tea, but tea is a cherry bomb to Rich Energy’s nuke when it comes to energy delivery. According to the website, Rich Energy is “formulated to provide increased alertness, attention, and energy.”

I certainly felt like there’s more pep in my step, but I also felt easily distracted and a bit rough off the back of it. Test two would have to wait a day as a result.

Taste Test Two: Served Chilled

Around the rim of the can is the suggestion to “serve chilled,” so it seems fair to have a slurp as intended. I popped a can of liquid energy in the fridge over night to make sure it was neatly chilled for a second day’s testing. While I know what color energy drink tends to be this was the first time I’ve seen Rich Energy out of the can. It looks like fizzy pee.

Is it any better chilled? Yes, actually. The icing sugar taste appears to last a little longer, which is a blessed relief as it holds off the standard energy drink aftertaste a smidge longer. After the nowhere-near-natural taste of the stuff fades the inside of my mouth felt coated with that furry feeling you get if you’ve eaten too much candy.

To make matters worse, chilled or not, Rich Energy does have an affect on my energy levels. I feel more alert, and rather more jittery. While it’s not super enjoyable, I do find myself able to get on with more work after half a tin.

After less than half the can I felt energized enough and didn’t really have any inclination to knock it back, but, science, so down it went.

I’m sure skulling energy drinks is a dumb thing to do, but it made me want to go outside and run in circles until I have no energy left. Presumably that’s March 2021, which is when this particular can (having been filled in March 2019) expires. I didn’t feel as rough afterwards as I did on day one either. Maybe I’m getting used to it?

It’s better chilled, but still not brilliant. I felt no richer but did feel energy-er.

Taste Test Three: Booze

I’ll admit I was quietly dreading day three. Rich Energy’s effect on me is rather too potent for my liking—it makes me feel like a record executive in the 1980s, only with liquid, and not coke snorted off the dash of a Countach. And it doesn’t taste nice.

But maybe vodka will make it better? Only one way to find out.

Time to crack out a neglected bottle of Russian Standard, a shot measurer thingy, and my final tin of Rich Energy for a lunchtime pick me up. A UK double (70ml/2.4fl oz) of very chilled (I think that bottle’s been in the freezer for a year or two) vodka poured, it was time for a test.

You know what? With cold vodka, a big ball of ice, and cold Rich Energy on the go I didn’t hate myself as much as I did when I had the power liquid on its own. This may be because the cold hides the taste. I was, as before, more energetic and easily excitable for a while afterwards. The comedown wasn’t as harsh either, which may have been because of the vodka.

After a while though, my mouth felt furry and I couldn’t taste the booze anymore, just the overwhelmingly artificial taste of energy pop.

Is it better than vodka and Red Bull? Pass. It’ll keep you alert while you’re filling yourself with booze, which is exactly what it should do in these circumstances.

These four pictures happened in order and accurately show what happened after a hefty glug of VodkaRich.
GIF: Alex Goy

Of the three tins I’ve put through my system, mixing it has given me the most satisfying experience. This is, however, like comparing the times I’ve broken bones. None were classifiable as “great.”

In Alanis and Elizabeth’s original piece, Rich Energy’s CEO, William Storey, says: “I bought a liquid and a drink from which I then created the brand…” I think he hit the nail on the head with his description: Rich Energy is indeed “a liquid.” Not one I particularly enjoy having in my body. I’m sure if you like energy drinks you’ll enjoy it.

I don’t, and didn’t.

If you can find it and have an overwhelming desire to have more energy than you normally do, then feel a bit rough a few hours later, fill your boots. Do you want people to think you’re ahead of the crowd by ordering Rich Energy as your energy fluid of choice over the Bull? You’ll look like an arsehole at the bar, but those who know what Rich Energy is will probably be surprised that someone else knows it exists.

Now what the hell do I do with the remaining 24 cans of this stuff?


Other Alex Goy's posts

Here's What A $110,000 Mini Looks Like Here's What A $110,000 Mini Looks Like

Jalopnik ReviewsAll of our test drives in one convenient place.  Minis are probably some of the most recognizable cars on the road, even though they’re not all that common anywhere anymore. Most of the Minis you see today are probably driven by enthusiasts rather than commuters, and some of the most extreme versions are currently being made by David Brown Automotive...

The 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Is a Hilarious Monster on Tight Roads The 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Is a Hilarious Monster on Tight Roads

Jalopnik ReviewsAll of our test drives in one convenient place.  The 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor is not available in America, the land of wide parking spots and wider-open spaces where wild trucks can roam free. Instead, this angry off-roader comes to England. Roads are tight, getting off-road isn’t simply a matter of “oh look, a desert,” and slinging mud from all-terrain...

What We Can Expect From the Future of Lotus What We Can Expect From the Future of Lotus

Under ownership from Geely, British sports car icon Lotus has gone from trying to keep the lights on to producing the all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar: a land missile that promises 250 miles of range, 0-62 mph in less than three seconds, a staggering 2,000 horsepower and a top speed over 200 mph. It’s quite the thing. The Lotus Evija...

The Lotus Evija EV Hypercar Promises Almost 2000 Horsepower, Awesome Looks The Lotus Evija EV Hypercar Promises Almost 2000 Horsepower, Awesome Looks

We’ve had teases, a name reveal, and plenty of speculation about what it’ll be, and now the Lotus Evija , which Lotus says will have almost 2,000 horsepower and more than 1,200 pound-feet of torque, is with us. Evija (pronounced E-vi-ya) means “the first in existence” or “the living one,” and although a Lotus spokesperson tell us that “Evija...

Suggested posts

Watch The First-Ever Formula One Pit Stop In Zero Gravity Watch The First-Ever Formula One Pit Stop In Zero Gravity

Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a Formula One pit crew to take on a tire change in space? I know that I have, mostly just because I frequently wonder what it would the future of racing will be (hint: it is long-distance interplanetary racing). Red Bull Racing is ahead of the game—it’s already practicing...

Haas Confirms It's An Independent F1 Team That Doesn't Need Rich Energy Anyway Haas Confirms It's An Independent F1 Team That Doesn't Need Rich Energy Anyway

The Haas Formula One team entered into a title sponsor partnership with British energy drink company Rich Energy that went down as well as a can of Rich Energy goes down: not great . But it seems like our early suspicions were true. When the Rich Energy deal tanked, Haas had cash to fill the void. The Mysterious Energy...

Toro Rosso F1 Team Wants To Be Called AlphaTauri, Which Sucks Toro Rosso F1 Team Wants To Be Called AlphaTauri, Which Sucks

Formula One team Toro Rosso has been on the grid since 2006 after Red Bull bought and rebranded Minardi. But that might not be the case moving forward. Toro Rosso has requested a name change for the 2020 season... to AlphaTauri. Which also happens to be the name of Red Bull’s ultra-expensive luxury clothing line.The Toro Rosso experiment has...

Rich Energy: Not Dead Yet! Rich Energy: Not Dead Yet!

Spooky season is almost upon us, which means it’s time for zombies and ghouls and haunted graveyards to be temporarily fashionable once again. But this fall, rising from the dead isn’t just for the folks in the Halloween movies. It may also be for Rich Energy, our dearly departed sponsor of the Haas Formula One team.That’s right, kids. In...

Haas F1 Is Done With Rich Energy Haas F1 Is Done With Rich Energy

Pour one out for Rich Energy, race fans (if you were ever able to find an actual can of Rich Energy to pour out, that is). The saga looks like it’s finally over. The embattled would-be energy drink company and its bombastic leader are finally parting ways with the Haas Formula One team.Here’s the tweet from Haas F1 confirming the...

Even Newly-Promoted Red Bull F1 Driver Thinks Red Bull Promotions Are 'Laughable' Even Newly-Promoted Red Bull F1 Driver Thinks Red Bull Promotions Are 'Laughable'

The Red Bull Junior Program is pretty notorious for how damn brutal it can be, what with the whole ‘demoting drivers  mid-season ’ deal. It’s reached the point where it feels like a professional version of musical chairs, where Red Bull’s sponsored drivers just have to be happy with whatever seat they end up with. But at least they’re...

The Rich Energy Drama May Be Back Once Again The Rich Energy Drama May Be Back Once Again

Rich Energy, the mysterious and regularly embattled energy-drink company that adorns the Haas Formula One Team’s race cars, will apparently make a decision on its future as the team’s sponsor soon. But in the meantime, some other interesting things are happening: Rich Energy’s former CEO, who was removed amid countless problems at the company, appears to be back.On Thursday,...

Hamilton Comes Back From 20-Second Deficit To Beat Verstappen In Hungarian Grand Prix Hamilton Comes Back From 20-Second Deficit To Beat Verstappen In Hungarian Grand Prix

With 21 laps to go in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was 21 seconds behind. Max Verstappen had fought him off long enough that Mercedes realized their only way to victory was with an aggressive pit strategy. Hamilton had emerged from the pits with a huge lead to make up.But with softer, newer tires on his Mercedes, he...

Red Bull Broke the Fastest F1 Pit Stop Record for the Second Race in a Row Red Bull Broke the Fastest F1 Pit Stop Record for the Second Race in a Row

Your browser does not support HTML5 video tag.Click here to view original GIFGIF: Michiel Toneman (YouTube)This weekend’s Formula One German Grand Prix at Hockenheim might just have been one of the best races of the season —but with Sebastian Vettel’s comeback drive and Lewis Hamilton’s tragic weekend, you might have missed another big moment. Red Bull Racing set the world...

Verstappen Reaffirms He's The Future While Vettel Has Brilliant Comeback At German Grand Prix Verstappen Reaffirms He's The Future While Vettel Has Brilliant Comeback At German Grand Prix

With his second win in the last three races, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen used the German Grand Prix to prove once again that he represents the next great era of Formula One. But while the young driver’s performance was impressive, Sebastian Vettel’s unbelievable climb from a 20th place start to a second-place finish stole the spotlight.All in all,...