Caffeine Nation

We Americans are a hard working, hard living people, and when we need a boost, many of us turn to energy drinks. The growth of Caffeine Nation also is driving job creation in the energy-drink niche, but that growth could be cut short as officials at FDA and the Federal Trade Commission's national advertising division focus on the human health effects and ad claims of energy drinks.

Truckers aren't the only people who get a jolt out of energy drinks. Sales dynamo 5-Hour Energy is giving a shot in the arm to food manufacturing in Northeast Indiana.

Warsaw, Ind., is the processing center for Living Essentials LLC, the Novi, Mich.-based company founded by Manoj Bhargava. The Indian entrepreneur created the 2 oz. pick-me-up infused with caffeine, B vitamins and acids 10 years ago. After nine years on retail shelves, 5-Hour Energy has established itself as the undisputed king of its $1 billion market niche with an estimated 60 percent share. The product's meteoric rise has resulted in three expansions totaling $55 million since 2008. Last year's $25.5 million capital investment was the largest and accounts for about half of the 400 new jobs created.

Rhargava was inspired to create 5-Hour Energy after visiting the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, Calif., in 2003. He spotted a vendor with a similar energy-stimulation recipe, but the product was in a 16 oz. can. Reasoning drozzy people weren't necessarily thirsty people, Rhargava downsized the container while maintaining the stimulant concentration. Within a year, 5-Hour was in GNC stores nationwide. The $3 beverage now can be found at checkouts at Walmart, Walgreens and other retailers.

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