Last Updated: 1/28/2010 1:14 PM
9 Iron is marketed as a caffeine free sports hydration drink with vitamins and electrolytes. The product has an enjoyable citrus flavor that’s moderately sweetened with sugar. Functionally, the drink has electrolytes, amino acids, taurine, B vitamins, and ginkgo biloba, but the marketer does not put any of this into context or make comparisons to the sports drinks that it will compete against. Despite the lack of caffeine, the product drinks very much like an energy drink, which is mainly the result of the bite that hits you at the finish. The same image is projected through the product's tall, 16 oz. can. While they may have needed to avoid glass to sell in places like golf courses, a plastic bottle – or something other than a 16 oz. can – would seem more appropriate for a sports hydration product. The branding and design of the can are well executed, with clean looking graphics and just the right amount of text on the front panel. However, it could use a touch more personality, especially since the name “Nine Iron," while clean, is somewhat generic sounding. Otherwise, we worry that positioning this product as providing hydration, endurance, and control, will, in the absence of a better description, leave this product appealing to a very small niche of the energy and sports categories. Overall, a good start, but could be made better.