Buy This Energy Drink, Help Kids is the full name of this energy drink, which I found was the non-profit brainchild of a company called Sheetz. So, of course even before opening I had to figure out what Sheetz is. Living in Colorado, I had no idea that Sheetz was such a huge convenience store chain - established in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina with over 340 stores. Still, my guess is that this drink did not do so well in the stores as it made its way to the Energy Drink Graveyard also known as Big Lots. My sample did not come from there, however, but by the generosity of Brandon, the awesome writer of Caffeine! An Energy Blog.
Buying this energy drink supposedly goes to helping out Sheetz' big charity, Sheetz Family Charities, a non-profit that raked in $2.55 Million, which is pretty sizeable for a non-profit. The Sheetz family charities seem like a very good cause, giving their money to help by donating to the Special Olympics, The Make a Wish Foundation and their own clothing/food holiday drive. They state on their website that they donate 25 cents from each sale - which is decent for a cheapo store brand energy drink that I am hoping they don't sell for more than a buck - because it really is not worth a whole lot more than that.
I am bummed that a drink that works so hard to help out people is doing the energy drink equivalent of flying a homeless cardboard sign in front of your face. What they are telling me is that they don't care how this drink tastes or works, just that if you don't buy it you are a big giant suckwad who wants kids to suffer. This does not list much of anything else to sway you to buy this drink, as they dont bother listing their caffeine content, their flavor profile or anything about the drink - other than the huge "BUY ME" sign on the front.
On top of the obnoxious design, they also don't bother to lis the caffeine, and hide everything in an energy blend. The printing is not the best or cleanest, and it is generally a sorry affair. Great intentions - just very poorly carried out.
Every once in a while I have encountered kids trying to sell this poorly named god-awful chocolate bard for their charity called Worlds Finest Chocolate. This bar of supposed chocolate tastes like fake cottonseed oil and emulsifiers with just enough chocolate flavor to be sold as a candy bar. The problem i that kids sell these things to go on school trips or make money for some good school or church cause, so you are compelled to purchase these horrid things and then are stuck with it.
That is exactly what is happening here. It is not that these are as bad as the chocolate bars, but this is also nothing you would ever buy for the taste. You can tell that the convenience store chain just asked a flavor house to do a traditional Sprite/7-Up-esque lemon-lime drink, but put in some energy ingredients and release to market. Usually a company will tweak a flavor profile to fit their consumer base - but seeing as this drink was only made to help a charity, the flavor was left as a poor generic wannabe with far too much sugar and a little off flavor bitterness. These are the types of things that would usually be picked up on if the drink owners gave this flavor half a mind. Sheetz just did not care how this stuff tastes - people were going to buy it for their guilty conscience, not because of the lemon-lime flavor - it is just plain sloppy carelessness.
Fitting right along with the theme of carelessness is the energy and nutrition found in Buy This Energy Drink, Help Kids. If you do not care enough to bother with the flavor of your drink, you obviously do not care enough to deal with the energy blend in your drink either. The mix is the very standard delivery found in the best of energy drinks. Of course they don't list their caffeine contents, but it is pretty clear there is between 170-180mg in the whole can, and the usual suspects can be found in here too, like taurine, inositol, choline, glucurolactone and your usual vitamin B overload. It looks like there is a little Vitamin C in here too, which was nice to see, but by and large there was absolutely nothing surprising about what you were going to find in here. There was a light to moderate burst of energy, lasting for about 2 hours before the need for caffeine kicks in again.
There was a really heavy crash for me - probably owing to the 250 calories made up mostly of sugar in the can. On top of that there was quite a few chemical preservatives and artificial flavors and dyes. It is pretty clear that while your purchase might have gone to helping out kids, It is not going to do your body much good either.
I love the idea of using energy drinks to raise money for a cause, and gladly support energy drinks and shots that donate their money to worthy charities such as the Special Olympics and Make a Wish foundation. This mess, however, is the wrong way to go about it. But if you are going to offer a product to market with the idea it is going to raise money for the charity, it does a disservice to not come out with the best product you can. Buy This Energy Drink, Help Kids would have done their charity a much bigger favor if they worked on the product to develop something special, instead of this bottom tier energy product.