Review: Full Throttle

Full Throttle is an energy drink brand owned by The Coca-Cola Company. It debuted in 2004 as Coke’s response to the growing energy drink market, led by the likes of Monster and Red Bull.

Full Throttle

As of 2006 sales data, Full Throttle is the #4 brand behind Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar (Coke distributes Rockstar, but does not own the brand). Pepsi’s SoBe No Fear and Amp brands round out the #5 and #6 spots, respectively.

The name and design of the Full Throttle brand hint at racing, probably more of the motorcycle variety. The logo is one you’d stereotypically associate with “bikers” and the Harley Davidson crowd, targeting 20-30 year-old men. The can design of the flagship drink is primarily black, highlighted by a silver logo with red and yellow attributes. It doesn’t hide the fact that Coke owns the product, as at the bottom of the logo panels it’s denoted as “A product of The Coca-Cola Company”. The drink is primarily packaged in 16 oz. cans, though it’s also found 24 oz. sizes.

Like most energy drinks, you’ll find the basic popular ingredients included, such as lots of caffeine, ginseng extract, taurine, guarana extract, and B-vitamins. While it’s not denoted on the packaging, the primary flavor of Full Throttle is citrus. In fact, upon opening a can, you are greeted by a sweet, citrus-y smell that also hints of scents you’d associate with your more common energy drinks. The color of the drink is yellow, similar to Mountain Dew.

As for the taste of the drink itself, it starts off sweet, with an influx of citrus flavor, however that experience ends quickly. A more energy drink-ish flavor kicks in after that, which isn’t a good thing. Overall, I’d describe the flavor as something akin to drinking carbonated cleaning solution. Very medicinal aftertaste. The drink wasn’t as smooth as I hoped, especially when compared to a cleaner flavor like that found in Amp, however it was leaps ahead of the bitterness experienced with Red Bull. The mild carbonation was just enough to give it a welcomed bubbly texture.

A 16 oz. can of Full Throttle contains 144 mg. of caffeine, which breaks down to 9 mg/oz. This is on par with other drinks in the category such as Red Bull (9.64 mg/oz.), Monster (10.00 mg/oz.), and Amp (8.875 mg/oz.). In contrast, Coca-Cola contains 2.9 mg/oz., while Mountain Dew clocks in at 4.5 mg/oz.

A full ingredient list is as follows:

Full Throttle
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, taurine, natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate (to protect taste), ginseng extract, caffeine, acadia, carnitine fumarate, glycerol ester of wood rosin, niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Yellow 5, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), guarana extract, cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Nutritionally, a whole can will cost you 220 calories, 170 mg of sodium, and 58 g of sugars. When you take a look at the inclusion of nutritional supplements, each 8 oz. serving (there are 2 per 16 oz. can) contains 90 mg of ginseng, 605 mg of taurine, 0.70 mg of guarana, and 14 mg of carnitine.

Overall, I’m not a fan of Full Throttle. My hunch is that the only reason it holds the #4 sales position is solely based on parent Coke’s distribution and marketing prowess, and not based on flavor. It’s not the most pleasant tasting energy drink.