Review: Amp Energy Original (2012)


Back in March, we talked about Pepsi’s relaunch of the Amp Energy lineup, featuring a realignment of flavors and positioning with the hopes of improving market share. We last reviewed the original Amp Energy back in 2005; let’s see what’s changed as we once again review Amp Energy Original.

Amp Energy Original (2012)

Amp Energy Original (2012)

When we first looked at Amp Energy, it was pitched as a spinoff from Mountain Dew. Well, it’s come a long way since then, and that includes the flavor. Originally, Amp had a flavor profile that was very obviously based in Dew. It was Dew, with more ‘energy drink-ish’ elements thrown in, but you could never mistake the origins.

This new take, branded as Amp Energy Original (part of their “Boost” vertical), is much less Dew-like. A citrus flavor is still present and the drink still has the yellow/green color of Dew, but it’s very different. The flavor is more bitter, there’s an odd taste in mid-sip, and a heavy amount of “energy drink” flavors found throughout, especially in the aftertaste. It’s more medicinal, less Dew-like overall, with quite a syrupy finish.

In short, yuck.

If we were just reviewing Amp Energy on its own, without history, we’d probably look at it much differently. It’s an energy drink, after all, so obviously it will have those taste elements shared. But we’re talking about a drink that had one of our favorite flavor profiles for an energy beverage… and it’s been ruined.

As for the package design, as we noted in the look back in March, it’s an attractive update to the look. I still question the functional labeling of Boost, Active, Focus — because in the end, I’m not sure it matters all that much. However, these days, beverage “function” is a hot market positioning thing. The simple color cans help a great deal in describing the flavor inside. As for the flavors that remain in the reboot (and those that were lost), we’ll have to see how this all plays out. Initial reaction to our Amp Energy redesign story provided a lot of comments from readers who didn’t seem to like the new direction of the brand.

Overall, Amp is now a generic, gross-tasting, standard energy drink with a non-distictive flavor. Find something better.

Amp Energy Original (2012)

A 16 oz can contains 220 calories, 140 mg sodium, and 58 g carbs (58 g sugars). Caffeine content is 8.875 mg/oz, which is the same as the first generation Amp Energy. This is in contrast to regular Mountain Dew which has 4.5 mg/oz.

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, orange juice concentrate, natural flavor, guarana seed extract, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), sodium hexametaphosphate (to protect flavor), caffeine, gum arabic, niacinamide (Vitamin b3) , ascorbic acid (to protect flavor), taurine, calcium disodium edta (to protect flavor), panax ginseng root extract, riboflavin (Vitamin B2) , calcium pantothenate (vitamin b5), brominated vegetable oil, Yellow 5, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), Blue 1