A cartoon beaver, bright-eyed and bushy, muscles flexing, appears to have broken out from within the red can; aluminum-coloured edges jag around him. No pusillanimous mascot, he has slung a hockey stick over his shoulder and his face sports an aggressive expression. "Canadian BEAVER BUZZ" reads the can. Below, the phrase "Dam good" and a black maple leaf appear. Blazoned on a black band at the top we find a list of herbs, stimulants, and vitamins.

Someone realized that the lack of an expressly Canadian trendy energy drink represented a gap in that market, and Beaver Buzz was born. Sold by the Double D Beverage Company of Kelowna, British Columbia, it represents an impressive entry into the energy drink market. Its sales at present aren’t a patch on the better-known brands, but for those interested in such refreshments, it has much to recommend it. It costs slightly less than Red Bull, and contains as much taurine, more caffeine and vitamins, plus guarana and ginseng. Of course, like most pop energy drinks, it also contains a significant amount of sugar. At 140 calories for each 250 milliliter can, the Buzz is heavier than many similar beverages.

In terms of its sensory appeal, Beaver Buzz has the same urinesque colour as Red Bull and a fairly strong citrus taste. They also market "Saskatoon Beaver Buzz" which has an overly sweet berry flavour. In place of a hockey stick, the mascot holds a lacrosse racket.1

At present it's not as widely available as many of its competitors, even in Canada. While the manufacturer’s budget and the product's relative newness play a role here, its limited name recognition in 2006 also reflects a cunning approach to its initial marketing. More and more drinks of this sort split the market, and their long-term sales often involve establishing hipness. Consumers can be unpredictable and crotchety; forced attempts at cool often close markets. Any beverage sporting a cartoon mascot matched only by the old Thrush Muffler bird2 for self-conscious edginess hopes to be regarded as cool. Rather than muff up its acceptance in this sometimes difficult market, Double D has chosen a gradual approach: websites and sponsorships and Beaver Buzz Girls, rather than saturation advertising and expensive commercial spots. Clearly, the company hopes consumers will be made receptive through the gradual spread of the brand. In 2009, they made some headway into the American market, and later began selling their product in the U.K. as "Bulldog Buzz."

For those who eschew the warnings and combine your energy drinks with alcohol, Beaver Buzz's citrus taste makes it a pretty good mixer. Do consider those warnings, however. This product isn't meant to be consumed in vast quantities, and stimulants mixed with alcohol can prevent the drinker from realizing how intoxicated he or she has become.

For those who eschew pricey, trendy energy drinks, nothing about Beaver Buzz will change your mind. Those already inclined to consume Red Bull or SoBe Adrenaline Rush, however, may find it a tasty pulse-accelerator.

1. UPDATE: Since this writing, they've introduced other products, including sugar-free grapefruit-flavoured Pink Buzz and Buzz Green Tea.

2. Thrush has cleaned up its appearance somewhat. For those of you who were not around in the 60s through to the early 80s, picture Woody Woodpecker’s evil twin, smoking a cigar while driving full throttle.

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