MIDDLESBROUGH, UK—An energy drink that has an Asian ant as its principal ingredient has confounded skeptics by making a successful entry into the UK stimulant-drinks market.
Ant Natural Stimulation, launched in the UK late last year, is produced and distributed by independent drink supplier InterContinental Brands (ICB). "We were ready to deal with a lot of negativity to do with the ants, but I can honestly say we haven't had one negative response since the drink was launched," said Marketing Manager Lindsey Booth.
"People expect stimulation drinks to have a bad taste, but that's not the case with Ant," she added. She said the drink has proven popular as an alcoholic mixer, and bar patrons are warming to tipples with names like Lubric-ant (vodka and Ant) and Agony Ant (gin and Ant).
Booth said plans are afoot to establish Ant in other regions, including a soon-to-be-concluded deal with China, where the two breeds of Polyrachis ant used exclusively in the drink are farmed.
The drink is thought to raise energy levels, fight ageing and enhance sexual vigour, as well as fortify the immune, nervous, muscular, digestive, kidney and skeletal systems. It is also believed to possess detoxification properties.
Ant consumption, traditionally popular with middle-aged and older Asian consumers, has become popular among young Asian adults as well.
Ant contains 1.65mL of the herbal formula, which consists of Polyrachis ant plus schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) and lycium (Lycium barbarum, L. chinense) in a blend of 38 per cent fruit juices (passion fruit, lychee, white grape, apple and lemon juice). It retails for about US$1.40 in the UK.