Energy drinks are certainly not listless in terms of new product development, and beverage makers are taking proactive stances to address the controversy. The most recent such example pairs the energizing trend with a natural approach. Hain-Celestial Inc.’s Celestial Seasonings brand introduced Kombucha Energy Shots, described as an “all-natural beverage” that “fills a void within the energy shot and beverage categories by combining B vitamins and energizing botanicals (such as ginseng and caffeine from guarana) with the revitalizing effects of kombucha.”

Kombucha has more advantages than some energy boosters. The fermented black tea contains naturally occurring enzymes, probiotic cultures and beneficial acids. Celestial Seasonings’ vice president and chief marketing officer Blake Waltrip notes, “Consumers have told us that the energy boost provided by kombucha is the primary reason they enjoy it.” The single-service, 2oz shots are available in three flavors: berry, citrus and “Pomegranate Xtreme.” The latter is fortified with additional caffeine from guarana, plus B vitamins. The new product line joins a rapidly growing energy shot segment in the U.S.—one which increased 30% between 2010-2011, according to Mintel reports.

Functional beverages are not always about providing a burst of energy, however, and LifeAID Beverage Co.’s GolferAID focuses directly on enhancing the consumer’s golf performance. Its 2,691mg of active ingredients claim to benefit the drinker’s power, focus, balance, endurance and flexibility.    
Among those ingredients are Epimedium, a botanical extract that contains a flavonoid called icariin, which studies have shown can mimic the effects of strength-inducing hormones; CoQ10 and gotu kola said to increase blood flow to the brain, “thereby increasing concentration, mental acuity and focus,” according to LifeAID literature; 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), a precursor to serotonin, the brain chemical that can help one maintain calm; bilberry and vitamins A, C and E to help vision; B vitamins and Siberian ginseng for increased stamina, endurance and strength; and glucosamine, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) and turmeric to help the joints and maintain flexibility. The company notes the 100%-natural beverage contains no artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or caffeine. Each 12oz can has 45 calories and 9g of organic blue agave sweetener, LifeAID notes.