We previously reviewed Roaring Lion Energy Drink in early 2011. Since that time, the company has rolled out new 16.9 oz resealable bottles, as well as two line extensions: Au Natural and Zero.
As we noted in our original review, Roaring Lion is a great Red Bull clone, and thus has a strong following in bars where it is used as a more economical alternative in mixed drinks. By adding reusable bottles to their lineups, they become attractive to restaurants due to the multiple uses and extended life of the beverage (the low carbonation level does last overnight). Additionally, it provides the brand an unique defense as energy drinks have come under fire as of late for their high amounts of caffeine and other additives. By introducing the idea of portion control and “save a bit for later,” Roaring Lion comes off as more consumer-friendly.
The 16.9 oz bottles are dark brown plastic, but you don’t see that color, given that they are covered with a full shrink label wrap. The flagship Roaring Lion flavor features a dark blue wrap, Au Natural has a very light blue, and Zero a somewhat-darker light blue. All versions showcase the yellow Roaring Lion logo towards the top of the bottle.
The formula for original Roaring Lion has not changed, so I’ll excerpt from our first review of that product:
As for the flavor, it’s typical “energy drink,” if that makes any sense. Starts out sour and “puckery.” It ends up with more of a sweet aftertaste. The overall flavor sports hints of cherry, green apple, and probably some liquid Smarties candy for good measure! …If you are a Red Bull fan, you’ll probably like this drink, and maybe embrace it even stronger as the flavor tastes slightly better than the well-known brand.
Which leads us on to the first of two new flavors for the brand: Roaring Lion Au Natural. Per the press release, “Au Natural’s natural formulation provides its potent energy boost through a combination of Natural Taurine, Guarana extract & a full suite of B-complex Vitamins, while it is sweetened with natural sugars. The product also does not contain any artificial preservatives, meaning that the only non-natural part of the formula is the flavor component.” It’s interesting that they are trying to position an energy drink in the same vein as other natural products. I’m not sure the demand is there for such a thing, but it’s a curious attempt in any case.
Au Natural is lightly golden in color, with a somewhat bitter citrus/melon scent. To be honest, I can’t really tell that there are “natural” ingredients used vs. the original flavor. Per the ingredient list, they both use sucrose as the primary sweetener. Guarana is the big addition over flagship Roaring Lion, with both featuring taurine as well. Overall, the flavor is good; it’s sweet and candy-like, with a bit of citrus flavor accentuating throughout the sipping experience, along with the usual bitterness you typically get from Red Bull-like beverages. Solid overall.
Also new to the product line is Roaring Lion Zero, which is different from the already-existing Sugar Free option. Zero is only available in bottles, while Sugar Free is in cans. Per the press release, Zero “should be considered a healthier alternative to the classic energy drink – containing no sugar, carbs, or calories, and comprised of ‘natural’ ingredients – while still retaining the traditional energy drink taste profile & functionality consumers expect.” Looking at the ingredient list, it would seem that Zero is a lot like Au Natural in makeup, with the main difference being the sweeteners. Zero uses stevia, while Sugar Free uses sucralose and Ace-K.
Zero is also lightly golden in color, and smells similar to the other products in the Roaring Lion lineup. As far as taste, I feel it actually tastes a bit lighter and cleaner than original Roaring Lion or Au Natural. Less syrupy feeling overall. That lightness is contrasted, however, with a bit of alternative sweetener aftertaste. I like the front end of the drink experience quite a bit; the finish I’m not completely sold on. Still, if you are looking for a diet alternative, Zero is a solid contender.
I really like the new form-factor these bottles have. The resealable option is helpful if you want to best control the amount of “energy” you are partaking at a certain period of time. The bottle form also removes some of the stigma associated with energy drinks, making this line more approachable for those curious. Au Natural and Zero have a bit of overlap regarding taste and positioning, but they are nice additions.
Roaring Lion Energy Drink – Original
Carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone, artificial flavor, caffeine, caramel, inositol, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B12
A 16.9 oz bottle contains 211.3 calories, 612.6 mg sodium, and 59.2 g carbs (52.8 g sugars). Caffeine content 9.5 mg/oz (Red Bull is 9.64 mg/oz)
Roaring Lion Au Natural
Carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, sodium citrate, natural taurine, guarana extract, artificial flavor, ascorbic acid, niacinamide (B3), calcium pantothenate (B5), pridoxine HCL (B6), cobalamin (B12), caramel color
A 16.9 oz bottle contains 211.3 calories, 718.3 mg sodium, and 48.6 g carbs (48.6 g sugars). Caffeine content 9.5 mg/oz (Red Bull is 9.64 mg/oz)
Roaring Lion Zero
Carbonated water, citric acid, sodium citrate, natural taurine, guarana extract, artificial flavor, ascorbic acid, niacinamide (B3), calcium pantothenate (B5), pridoxine HCL (B6), cobalamin (B12), caramel color
A 16.9 oz bottle contains 0 calories, 718.3 mg sodium, and 0 g carbs (0 g sugars). Caffeine content 9.5 mg/oz (Red Bull is 9.64 mg/oz)
Roaring Lion Sugar Free
carbonated water, citric acid, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone, artificial flavor, caffeine, caramel, sucralose, ace-k, inositol, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B12
Official Website: RoaringLionEnergyDrink.com
Full Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of RLED, LLC