Powerking is a vitamin enriched (B3, B5, B6 and B12) energy drink with taurine and a high level of caffeine. It’s manufactured in the Netherlands for European Marketing Distribution (EMD), a European purchasing organization for grocery stores that represents over 150,000 stores across Europe. In other words; if you live in Europe, there’s a good chance you can buy a can of Powerking in a grocery store close to you. Perhaps it’s sold with a different brand name where you live, but the contents of the can is the same. Should you spend your hard earned dough on this product? That’s what I’m trying to find out.


The Powerking can is dark and industrial and only contains 250ml, half of what I’d normally call a party. Looking at the can, I’m guessing that creating a cool design wasn’t the highest priority when the EMD people sat down and decided they wanted to manufacture an energy drink. They most likely licensed - or tried their best to copy - a recipe for the drink, built a factory in the Netherlands, and told a summer intern to slap together a design for the can. The intern thought “what do I associate with energy?”, found a picture of a heart rate monitor, a cool font for the logo, a piece of clip art for the background and called it a day. All that said, the Powerking can isn’t the most boring energy drink can I’ve seen in my life. Good job, summer intern!

First smell

When the suits at EMD looked for a recipe to license, I think they looked to Austria. Because this smells a lot like Red Bull. The brand is regarded by many as the de facto standard when it comes to energy drinks, much like Coca Cola for many people is the pinnacle of soft drinks. I very much doubt that Red Bull would license their recipe to another company, what’s more likely is that EMD has tried to copy the Red Bull recipe as much as possible without having to face Dietrich Mateschitz in court. Judging by the smell from the can, they might be on to something.

First sip from the can

When it comes to taste, on the other hand, EMD seem to have failed. Powerking doesn’t really taste like Red Bull, in fact it doesn’t taste much at all. And the taste disappears fairly quickly. There’s a subtle hint of aftertaste, though, and a little aftertaste is perhaps good value for money?

Taste from a glass

From a glass, Powerking, unsurprisingly, still smells like Red Bull. There’s a subtle hint of flowers hanging in the glass, but this might be from a botched dishwasher job, and not from the drink itself. Consuming Powerking from the glass doesn’t really make a difference, compared to drinking from the can - it doesn’t taste much, and the taste still disappears quickly. The sip I had earlier has turned into a ball of slime in my mouth. It seems that not only does Powerking contain caffeine and taurine, it also contains lots of sugar.


The Powerking is mildly carbonated and also looks like Red Bull. So if it looks like Red Bull and smells like Red Bull, isn’t it then Red Bull? No, it’s not. Due the energy drink’s success, many other manufacturers have tried to copy it - not just EMD - so a lot of energy drinks, in particular white labels like Powerking, will both smell and look like Red Bull.

After 5 minutes

Much of the taste when drinking from the can is now gone, but that’s no reason to stop! Some of the taste comes back when I’m exhaling, so something Powerking-related seems to be stuck in my mouth and throat. I’m having a hard time deciding whether that is a good thing. I don’t feel particularly up-beat, so either the caffeine and taurine haven’t kicked in, or it’s not enough of it.

After 10 minutes

I’m still going strong. For some reason the sips I take now seems to taste more. My mouth feels uncomfortable and sugar-coated.

The can is empty

At least the taste was consistent, even though there wasn’t that much of it. I’m listening to Tycho’s Hours, which is a somewhat upbeat song. Is my choice of music caused by drinking Powerking or just a need to listen to a bit of Tycho again? I’m also gradually increasing the volume, is this the start of a one-man party? Emptying the can took 23 minutes, and I gulped down the last remains.

The final verdict

Powerking can, in in desperate times, perhaps suffice as a thirst quencher, but it’s definitely not an energy drink you should buy if you want to sit down and enjoy a cool beverage. Even though it looks like Red Bull and smells like Red Bull, it’d absolutely no Red Bull, either. It’s a white label energy drink given a hip name, the taste is bland, boring and soon forgotten.

Quick facts


European Marketing Distribution (EMD) is a European purchasing organization for grocery stores. EMD was established in 1989. The 15 members of EMD represent 150,000 stores in 16 countries.


A central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. Caffeine is used to reduce physical fatigue and to prevent or treat drowsiness. It produces increased wakefulness, faster and clearer flow of thought, increased focus, and better general body coordination.


Essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina, and the central nervous system. However, its role in these processes is not clearly understood and the influence of high taurine doses on these processes is uncertain.


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