Caffeine kick in cocaine clothing

It's Blow, an energy drink.

Posted: July 09, 2007

It's a white powder, it'll keep you wired all night, and it's called Blow.

But it's not cocaine. It's a crystalline energy drink, a sweet mix like Kool-Aid, aimed at the bar scene.

"Our product is not designed to be an illicit-drug alternative," says Logan Gola, the brains behind Blow. Still, it arrived at The Inquirer in a faux dusty box. Inside were vials of Blow, a toy credit card, and a mirror. (But no dollar bill.)

The new mix is being peddled to a market that is hooked: Energy-drink sales increased by 50 percent between 2005 and 2006, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp.

Blow, like most energy drinks, includes a cavalcade of impressive-sounding ingredients - taurine, B vitamins, inositol, L-carnitine - but the tried-and-true upper is the ever-present caffeine. Perhaps too much.

"There have been alarming rates of all these health problems associated with high caffeine," said Lisa Hark, director of the Nutrition Education and Prevention Program at the University of Pennsylvania. To find out how much is too much, go to www.energyfiend.com's death-by-caffeine calculator.

Then there's the booze issue. Red Bull, the flagship energy drink, is often mixed with vodka or taken with a shot of the liqueur Jägermeister, the widely guzzled "Jäger Bomb." In the April 2006 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers reported that drinking Red Bull made subjects feel less drunk, but not act less drunk.

The impact of a drink mix like Blow forges new territory. It cuts out the liquid middleman and can be dissolved directly into any cocktail. "It's being sold in liquor stores," said Lauren Seal, Blow promoter. "People have put it in anything: shots, vodka-based cocktails, gin."

But heed the warning on the vial: "Do not snort Blow."

   - Erika Gebel

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