BEND, Ore. - It's an energy drink with a twist.
"We wanted to make the healthiest, but coolest energy drink possible," Dakota Rea said Thursday.
Neon Energy Drink is the flagship of Bend's Altairia International, run by Rea, a Bend native who wanted to create a one-of-a-kind energy drink.
"It took about 10 months an estimated 20 scientists, and we kept tweaking the flavor, we wanted to make it perfect," Rea said. "We wanted to make it the iPhone of energy drinks, the drink that would come out and change everything."
The drink is made up of more than 25 all-natural ingredients, including green tea extract, providing the caffeine stimulant for the drink, along with prickly pear, gotu kola, passion fruit, a slew of juice concentrates, followed by a ton of different vitamins. It tastes like a fruit punch with a fizzy kick.
But the ingredient quinine might be the most unique. Combine that with the other ingredients in the can -- and in the dark, under a black light, the drink begins to glow.
But it's exactly that neon glow that has some skeptical of its nutritional value.
"I don't know why when something glows people think it's unhealthy for them," Rea said. "because if you think about a firefly, they are natural. And you see people on the Discovery Channel and all these outdoorsy shows eating bugs, and it's just protein right? "
"We encourage everyone to look at the back of the can and Google every single ingredient and you'll find a health benefit for each one," Rea said.
The team started work on the concept three years ago, but they've only been up and running out of the Old Mill for about eight months.
Already, Neon is sold in 28 states, with nearly 300 distributors.
Rea's had help from the company's chief operating officer, Bob Grimm, a long-time Bend resident and former Oregon State Beaver and NFL player.
"Now we are at a point where we are in business on a very small scale, but we are taking baby steps and one step at a time," Grim said.
The drink is created and marketed in town and on the East Coast. But the owners see a glowing and growing future for the company in Central Oregon.
"We want this company to be 100 years old in Bend, and support jobs for the local Central Oregon community as an international company," Rea said.
Neon isn't sold in stores, by the way. It's distributed like Avon or Mary Kay products and available online. For more information on the drink, visit altairia.com/energy and click join.