SoBe Pure Rush a variant of the PepsiCo brand exclusive to the UK is being introduced to garage forecourts, WHSmith Travel stores and selected delis now, ahead of a wider retail rollout later this year.
The drinks (rsp: £1.39 per 250ml can) are bottled and distributed in the UK by Britvic through its exclusive agreement with SoBe's parent company PepsiCo.
SoBe, which was acquired in 2000, already has global sales of $570m and is available in India and Norway as well as the US, where there are 30 different variants. In the UK, the brand, short for Florida's South Beach, will be available in two flavours initially: Apple Berry Burst and Tropical Twist.
Britvic's head of seed brands, Jon Evans, said the ingredients made it "completely different to anything else in the stimulant energy market," and would appeal to consumers reluctant to buy energy drinks because of their artificial flavours and taste.
SoBe contained more natural ingredients than other leading energy drinks, he said, and was free of artificial colours and flavours. It also contained guarana, ginseng and 'naturally sourced' caffeine.
With sales of energy drinks up 19% [Nielsen 52w/e 25 December], SoBe would entice new consumers to a category slightly down in penetration, claimed Britvic. "Most energy drinks are full of artificial ingredients," said Seed. "Pure Rush has been designed to address this. We are confident it will bring new shoppers into the category."
Cans feature the strapline 'naturally energising' and feature two lizards, which are meant to depict the ancient figure-of-eight infinity symbol.
Jonathan Ford, creative partner at global design agency Pearlfisher, questioned whether they would have strong enough shelf standout. "The fact that energy has to be communicated three times indicates that the design is not that confident," he said.
It looked more like a mixer than a standalone offer, he added.