Addicted to novelty since 2001

Why is Red Bull More Than Three Times the Price of Coke?

I was in 7-11 the other day, and the dude in front of me bought a Red Bull for about $3.50. A can of Coke costs $1.00, and it’s four ounces bigger.

The disparity is greater on Amazon.com, where you can get 95 cans of Coke for the same price as 24 Red Bulls (excluding shipping).

For no particular reason other than disinterest, I’ve never tried Red Bull. Is it three and a half times tastier than Coke? Is the extra caffeine worth the price of a latte?

24 Responses to “Why is Red Bull More Than Three Times the Price of Coke?”

  1. Brian El

    Darren: Well you’re interested enough in Red Bull to blog about it. So go give it a try, and then you tell us whether it’s worth the price.

    Brian

  2. Ross

    Just hazarding a guess here, but it’s probably not the caffeine you’re paying extra for, but rather the taurine: the big ingredient in most (all?) of these energy drinks. Taurine, and also the image that you’re hip and edgy if you drink Red Bull.

    I’m not sure I agree with Brian above though, who suggested you should actually try Red Bull. Not unless you think the experience of downing several hundred millilitres worth of carbonated cough syrup is going to be a pleasant one. The only energy drink I’ve found so far to have any kind of halfway decent taste is Full Throttle, which tastes like lemonade with a sharp bite.

  3. David Lewis

    I tried Red Bull once … when a rep brought some in. Here’s my analogy … it tastes like parfume smells. It was gross. Maybe I’m just too old … or didn’t mix it with Vodka …

  4. Flo

    Maybe they get away with charging more than Coke because of the ‘medicinal’ ingredients presented in the Red Bull product (as mentioned above, Taurine)… vitamins, etc.

  5. filmgoerjuan

    Hey, you’re paying for the poor bastard who has to collect the bull urine from which they extract the taurine!

  6. Roshan

    “carbonated cough syrup” is right.

    These soft drinks that we get here taste are inferior in taste than the ones u get in Canada, the UK & the US. Even then, when I tried a Red Bull for the first and only time hopefully, it was worthless. I wanted to finish it just because i bought it & it cost a whole lot more than any drink I had ever bought without alcohol in it. It sucks. Yuck.

  7. Derek K. Miller

    Try Tab Energy. I have no idea if it’s any better tasting, but it has a fun retro feel to me, and is a zombie brand. On the other hand, it’s marketed heavily as a women’s product, sort of the anti-Red Bull.

    So you can drink it extra-ironically!

  8. rhm

    Some people hate it, some (like me) are addicted to it, many more are completely indifferent to the taste which is a little like cough medicine I think.

    Anyway, the reason it costs so much is simple: because that’s what people are willing to pay. And it’s because of that they can blow up to $200M a year on a mediocre Formula 1 team.

  9. Andrew Ferguson

    Why is Grey Goose more than Absolut?

    Marketing! Red Bull is the celebrity-vodka-mixer of yesteryear! They did strangeness with their brand that made people want it at $3.50 a can, so that’s where they sell it at.

  10. Warwick

    The extra price is merely because they’ve done a good job of building the brand and the perception that there’s more to it than a coke. Coke is priced almost the same as a bottle of water here in North America, however, in parts of the world, Coke is much more expensive than beer, water, etc.

    I don’t drink Red Bull regularily (even when I lived with a Red Bull athlete) but they sure come in handy at the tail end of a long drive.

  11. Jeremy Latham

    Costco sells a very similar product call Red Rave for about $18/24 pack. The taste is somewhat less intense and at 75 cents/can it’s a whole lot easier on the wallet.

    I drink a lot of coffee but find the occasional Red Bull/Red Rave wakes me up quite a bit. It’s particularly good when hand-eye coordination is required after a long day (ie. beach volleyball, golf…) or, as Warwick said, keeping you up for the end of a long drive.

  12. Jeff

    I love Red Bull. I think they taste great, but at $3.00 a can, I rarely buy them unless I need a strong ‘pick me up’ – since they go down so fast.

    A $5 Starbucks Venti No Whip Mocha will last me an hour, so I will buy those more often.

  13. Clint

    Red Bull is more or less a club/rave drink. Most people will be mixing it for some form of cocktail so it’s associated as being a mixer and has the price from the bars tagged along with it. Go to a club one day, order a bottle of off brand water for $2, a can of coke for $3, and then your red bull, which will still be $3.50 at most clubs I’ve been to. It’s simply that stores don’t come off the price because they don’t have to, mainly being people that want it will buy it regardless.

  14. Amish bakrania

    So what about the energy?

    The same amount of caffeine as a weak cup of filter coffee……

    lets get your facts straight people…

    I couldn’t live without red bull, especially when i am tired!

    So for all you people trying to plug your drinks – why do you even bother? Full throttle tastes like horse urine and red rave needs to have its own brand identity…

    plus your paying for a aspirational brand.!

  15. ernie

    Branding, it’s all about branding.

    Red Bull has done an amazing job of defining the energy drink market. They’ve portrayed themselves as the cool, hip drink, and people are willing to pay $2/can to be associated with that image. (Check out the Red Bull events such as their highly hyped Flugtag.)

    They’ve also aggressively protected their brand, making sure it doesn’t dilute.

    I remember seeing one write up praising the company for it’s brilliant marketing and strategy, especially as they’re basically selling soda, with a markup that Coke or Pepsi can only dream about (and why you see all these knockoffs as well . . . )

  16. sammy

    Supply and demand. The cost of the actual liquid is almost negligible in this case. There are plenty of energy drinks that are much cheaper but they still don’t sell as well. Everyone wants red bull so they can charge more. It’s a lot like asking why an Acura is so much more expensive then a Honda.

  17. Holly

    Why not sell it for that much. Red bull has set it’s mark globally. People from all of the world are buying them, it doesn’t matter that they are 3.50/can. Red bull has a reputation and the company is making one hell of a profit; their revenue is definitly exceeding their expenses.

  18. joe

    The reason it costs more is because people are willing to pay more for it, it has nothing to do with the physical expenses associated with the can or contained liquid.

  19. Jeff

    If you are interested in an energy drink you should try one that is actually good for you. Try efusjon you can learn more about it at myefusjon.com/jeffbarton

  20. ms LEE

    I ACTUALLY LIKE RED BULL
    IT WAS BETTER BEFORE THEY CHANGED THE COLOR
    IT SHOULD NOT REALLY BE CONSIDERED AN ENERGY DRINK AS IT DOES NOT REALLY GIVE YOU MORE ENERGY (OR A BOOST)
    IT DOES HAVE LOTS OF B VITAMINS

    SOMETIMES I CAN FIND IT ON SALE FOR $5 A 4 PACK SHORT CANS

    IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT….OH WELL

    THANKS

    LEE

  21. Ahmad Shata

    Thanks for the comments.
    I do also believe it is a marketing issue
    I am a caffeine addict, and when I tried a can of Red Bull I felt nothing special !
    On the contrary, I felt somewhat sleepy !

    Save your money, my friends.

  22. Nico

    You’re not paying the extra price for any ingredient nor for the physical product, but for the brand. Buying a Red Bull is your ticket to young, vital and daring lifestyle. Add the fact that we perceive the consumption of an energy drink as somewhat risky, it is something that we are unsure about and could potentially harm us, which makes us go for a safe (quality) brand like Red Bull and that allows them to charge this price premium.

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