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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Viso, a beverage to be praised, a beverage to be feared
It's a tale as old as time. Entrepreneur comes up with an idea for a revolutionary new energy drink, entrepreneur convinces his parents to invest $1.2 million dollars, entrepreneur unleashes revolutionary new energy drink on the market.
I'm talking about Alex Ilica and his locally-produced beverage Viso, which, as of 2008 at least, was still being brewed and bottled in an old slaughterhouse off Interstate Avenue here in Portland. What makes Viso's line of energy drinks different from, say, Rockstar or Red Bull? First off, they're flavored with organic fruit juices, contain natural caffeine and use either Splenda or organic cane juice for sweetening.
Most importantly though, drinking a Viso doesn't result in the sugar crash that typically accompanies other energy drinks. Its caffeine content also packs a wallop: a whole 300 milligrams. To put that in perspective, a can of Red Bull contains 80 and a Starbucks Grande Latte has 150. There's also a line of caffeine-free Viso drinks but, ultimately, why would you ever bother with those?
I wouldn't mention it here if I wasn't a semi-regular Viso drinker. Speaking as someone who isn't a big fan of coffee, the beverage is a modern day miracle. Like other Viso devotees, I can attest to the fact that, perhaps because of its vitamin and organic fruit ingredients, it doesn't leave you feeling lethargic and lousy a few hours after drinking one.
Still, a word of caution: the caffeine contained within the average can of Viso is nothing to be taken lightly. As a colleague once advised, "never drink one after 12 PM." I made the mistake of downing a can last week during the cocktail hour. I didn't get to sleep before 3 AM that night. It's also a beverage that shouldn't be consumed quickly. This could very likely lead to your heart bursting out of your chest and immediately enrolling in the nearest triathlon. Pregnant women and the elderly? They should probably stick with Earl Grey.
Follow these simple tips and Viso may come through for you in a pinch one day. After a sleepless night last summer, I managed to get through a day-long hiking trip after downing one. Viso is currently available only in Oregon and Northern California but the owner plans to take it nationwide within the next few years. I'm predicting that it will eventually become a cult institution among grad students and workaholics from coast to coast.
Still, there are those that contest that the old formula before a package redesign last summer was superior. Myself, I'll say that the taste of the new flavors is definitely an improvement and I think they contain the same kick.