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This is good. And not just because it's so cheap.

Accelerator Island Guava Energy Drink (Dollar Tree)

What a welcome sight this was! On my last trip to Dollar Tree – my first in at least two months – I stumbled on a display of brand new energy drinks! Well, I guess “stumbled” is rather incorrect, as these were on a display in the middle of the store. But they were facing an awkward angle, so I guess “stumbled” is kind of appropriate, after all.

I made sure to grab a few different drinks to test out, but the one that captured my attention the most was this little dandy: Accelerator Island Guava energy drink. I could tell this wasn’t just some made-for-Dollar-Tree product, given its clean design: The white can is pretty smooth, and the blue-magenta-ish color scheme is quite attractive. I have to say this is an eye-catching design, among a sea of similar-looking cans. 

This is designed by A SHOC, a beverage company that produces the Adrenaline Shoc energy drink. This seems to be some kind of spinoff beverage, which I’m assuming is targeting “cheaper” markets. Without going into an in-depth comparison, the first immediate difference is that Accelerator has 200mg of caffeine, versus Shoc’s 300. Still, 200 is a pretty respectable amount, especially for $1.25. 

The smell…well, it wasn’t lying: It does smell like an island! Ha, just kidding. I was bracing myself for immediate disappointment, but it surprisingly does smell like guava. In fact, it almost recalls Rockstar’s Guava, Passionfruit and Mango combination of yesteryear, which still might be the best energy drink I’ve ever had. There’s a hint of some other kind of smell in the back-end of the aroma, but it’s hard to deduce what it is. Either way, it made me want to dive right in.

Oh yeah, this is exactly what I was looking for. This is a lot like Rockstar’s Guava drink, offering up quite a bit of sweet guava taste. But whereas Rockstar’s version was full of sugar, this one is sugar free. Notably, there is no medicinal or bitter notes in the flavor department; it’s just sweet and straightforward. There is the slight taste/aftertaste of sucralose, but that’s pretty much expected with any product that uses it. This leads to a kind of “diet” taste that lingers in the back of the throat, but it’s harmless.

I’m disappointed to see that it’s not available online, either through Dollar Tree’s website or Instacart. This leads me to believe that these are just being offered as a one-off closeout, instead of being added to their permanent inventory. This is a shame, because it provides a good alternative to the Rockstar’s and Rip-It’s that linger on Dollar Tree’s shelves. This is better than both of those brands, something I never would have expected to say going in.

The 200mg of natural caffeine did give me a slight boost, with no irritability or other negative side effects. One quick question: Is there really any difference between “natural” caffeine, and “regular” caffeine? I don’t mean in genetic makeup – I’m sure they’re created differently – but in terms of how it affects the body? I guess I’m cynical, but I always question anything that’s marketed as anything. Take organic products, for example: The USDA is supposed to test farms and products labeled as “organic”, but with so many products labeling themselves as such – and the USDA’s no doubt limited means in terms of testing – it’s doubtful even half of those products have been vetted. Sure, that means they can’t carry the official USDA Certified Organic label, but do people really pay attention to that? In other words, the industry is more or less policing themselves. 

Still, despite the questionability of “natural” caffeine, it really doesn’t matter: This is a full-size energy drink. From Dollar Tree. That’s sugar-free. And that actually tastes good. Something like this comes along once every blue moon; if you see any of these at your local store, jump on it. There’s a lot of value to be had here, even with the $1.25 price tag.

Overall: 8.5/10. This is a full-sized 16 oz. sugar-free energy drink from Dollar Tree. That alone pretty much makes it worth a purchase; the fact it’s so good demands additional ones. This isn’t just good in a “Well, it’s from Dollar Tree” kind of way, but in a “Damn, even if I paid a dollar more somewhere, this would still be good.” It reminds me of Rockstar’s Orange Passionfruit Guava Punched drink, which is one of my all-time favorites, only without all that added sugar. This is an impressive accomplishment, though a lack of it on Dollar Tree’s website seems to insinuate it’s a one-off closeout instead of a permanent part of their inventory. What a shame; that just means you’ll have to stock up on them before it’s too late.

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