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Are circadian drinks the new "energy" drink for gamers?

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

GFuel, Monster Energy, and Rogue Energy. Many in the gaming and streaming communities have heard or used these drinks. Whether it's to give them a boost during a stream or to simply stay awake, many of these drinks contain caffeine:

This is comparable to the caffeine levels in coffee, depending on the size of your cup. Though Starbucks apparently packs more caffeine into their coffee than just about every coffee chain. As much as we love coffee, the FDA does recommend 400 mg of caffeine a day is a safe threshold before we experience some sort of ailment.

Enter "circadian" drinks. What are circadian drinks, though? According to Sly, who describe their drinks as "a drink line of natural energizers and relaxers that contain researched and proven ingredients approved by the National Institutes of Health, which assist in aligning our natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm." So, rather than caffeine and sugar, Sly's drinks are made with natural herbs and minerals. Sly's drinks do have sugar, but at 2 grams or less per drink, is a far cry from say Monster's Green drink.

At EsportsNext 2023, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Tom Czyz, co-founder of Intent Brands, parent company of Sly, a beverage company looking to create a healthier alternative to drinks like GFuel, Monster, and Rogue. In the video below, I had the opportunity to take a deeper dive (and sample) Sly's line of drinks while also talking to Dr. Tom Czyz about Intent Brands and Sly. He and his wife, Dr. Amy Czyz co-founded Intent due to problems Amy had with regular drinking water. Rather than just looking to buy an alternative, they went a step further and leveraged their medical backgrounds to create an alternative. Seeking to target the gaming community, they ran tests with tasters who identified as gamers to get their reaction and feedback. Check out the video to learn more about this:

Sly currently has three drinks. With a disclaimer that I'm not a medical expert, I've surfed the web to look for more info on what their key ingredients do:

  • Boost: contains a formula of natural energy enhancers:

    • Rhodiola - for treating anxiety, fatigue and depression

    • Alcar (Acetyl-L-Carnite) - benefits include improved memory and energy

    • Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) - enhances acetylcholine, a chemical important for memory and learning functions

    • Tyrosine - reduces stress

    • L-theanine - anxiety and stress relief, increased focus, blood pressure management (interestingly, the linked article says L-theanine's enhanced focus properties worked better when combined with caffeine)

  • Chill: combines energy boosting with natural relaxants:

    • Ashwagandha - stress relief, lowers blood sugar, increased muscle strength, increased focus

    • Valerian - sedative

    • Chamomile - commonly used in tea, but has medicinal properties to treat a variety of ailments

    • Magnesium - energy production

    • Biotin - aka Vitamin B7, breaks down fat, carbs and proteins

  • Dream: contains Melatonin to promote sleep and recovery

    • Melatonin - perhaps the drink that most closely defines what a circadian drink is, melatonin helps with the timing of your internal clock. Exposure to light at night blocks melatonin production apparently, so taking additional melatonin helps with addressing any shortfall, thus promoting good sleep.

On the surface, Chill appeals to me the most since I generally stream late at night after everyone in my household has gone to bed. I need energy without downing another cup of coffee. (That's the sample I tried at EsportsNext so I may just order some more)

If my experience is indicative of the audience and target market that Sly is going for, then I think it's a terrific opportunity to break into the game, so to speak.

So, how is this newly launched drink going to compete in a the video game market with entrenched drink brands? While energy drink manufacturers have introduced healthier alternatives to their main drink lines, including no sugar and no caffeine offerings, companies like Sly use herbs and minerals from the get go. By positioning themselves as a healthier, natural option, they can be seen as a potential market disruptor, rather than a big brand reacting to market demand.

Positioning is one thing, but to conquer the gaming market, they're going to need to work with influencers and make their presence felt at events like they did at EsportsNext. More specifically on the charity end, would collaborative partnerships with nonprofits be part of their marketing strategy? Especially for orgs whose core values revolve around health and well-being. It will be interesting to see how their brand grows in the space.

For more information on Drinks On the Sly, please visit them here:

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