Caffiend: Tru Blood

The Tru Blood carbonated drink was introduced last year, one of many merchandise extensions of HBO's popular show, True Blood. While viewers eagerly anticipate the third season of that show (currently in production), we decided to try the drink, which is modeled after the bottled "blood" that vampires swig on the series.

First things first: the drink does not taste like blood at all. It sort of looks like blood, because it's a red liquid packaged in a red bottle, but the taste of the Tru Blood beverage is more along the lines of a more sugary Tahitian Fruit Punch. The flavor is supposed to be "Red Orange," but there's little orange taste to this brew. It tastes more like a lightly carbonated red berry mix.

As for energy, Tru Blood doesn't really provide much more than a highly caffeinated soda like Mountain Dew. The label on the bottle lists the caffeine content as 50 mg, which is about 30 mg less than a can of Red Bull and on par with a weak coffee. There's also a blend of B vitamins (pretty standard for energy drinks these days), and 24 grams of sugar. As sweet as Tru Blood is, we're surprised the sugar content isn't higher.

This would be a decent on-the-go drink -- if it weren't so pricey. We picked up a four-pack at a local Hot Topic for around $25 -- that's more than $5 a bottle, twice the average cost of a Monster or Rock Star drink. And unfortunately, the bottles come in four-packs and are not usually labeled for individual sale, so if you just want to try the drink, you're likely to be saddled with a four-pack. (We did find out that local Zia Record Exchange stores carry individual bottles, priced at $5.99 each.)

Caffiends and energy drink heads probably won't be impressed by Tru Blood, even though it tastes pretty good and provides a marginal amount of pep. But fans of the show have apparently been chugging this stuff. It's a clever gimmick -- the manufacturer of Tru Blood is Omni Consumer Products, a San Francisco-based company that takes fictional products in movies and turns them into real products. Other examples of Omni's products include the drink Brawndo from the movie Idiocracy and Sex Panther Cologne from the movie Anchorman.
But gimmicks are often just that, and Tru Blood doesn't surpass even the lowest expectations. We'll just continue to drink Monsters for $2.49 each and wait for the Avatar blue skin dye that's probably inevitable.      

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea