Dietrich Mateschitz was just another businessman visiting Thailand in the early 1980s, trying to expand the market for his company, the consumer goods firm Blendax, as its marketing director. So it hardly seemed meaningful when the tired traveler popped open a small bottle of a syrupy concoction popular with Thailand’s truck drivers and blue-collar workers. The drink, called Krating Daeng (Thai for red bull), gave Mateschitz not only the spark of energy he was looking for but a spark of inspiration. And where some might have seen opportunity, the entrepreneurial Austrian saw something more: the seeds of an empire.
Dietrich Mateschitz was born in Austria in 1944 to parents of Croatian ancestry. A late bloomer professionally, it took him a decade to finish his degree before he began working for a number of consumer product corporations in sales and marketing positions. It was during one of these stints that Mateschitz found himself in Thailand. He had previously noticed the existing market for energy drinks, which were popular in a few Asian countries. Soon Mateschitz was reaching out to Chaleo Yoovidhya, the Thai businessman who owned Krating Daeng (one of the most popular products in Thailand), and the two formed a partnership that would become the basis for the eventual Red Bull corporation. The two men each took 49 percent of the new company, with Yoovidhya’s son Chalerm holding the remaining 2 percent.
Flash forward a few years to 1987,