Aldi supermarkets across the UK came under siege this week, as shoppers fought to get their hands on a viral range of soft drinks promoted by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI.
Consumers lined up round the block in the hope of obtaining crates of their own, while staff were forced to limit customers to one bottle per person. Notices were placed warning that they had completely sold out soon after.
The two video stars, who became friends after squaring up for an amateur boxing bout, are very much the faces of Prime Hydration but who is actually behind the product?
As internet sleuth Isaiah Louis has pointed out, every bottle sold lists an address in Louisville, Kentucky, which can be used to trace the manufacturer via the local secretary of state’s website to one Max Clemons.
Clemons is the co-owner of Congo Brands, the true manufacturer of the drinks, with partner Trey Steiger.
On its own site, Congo states that it “was developed to create synergies between the independent brands [Clemons and Steiger] co-founded over the years.
“Brands in the Congo portfolio may have ownership beyond Trey and Max, however, they do provide key insights into the operations of each brand.”
The duo were recently profiled in The Sun, which described them as former classmates at Pleasure Ridge High School in Louisville who “now control a drinks empire experts say is set to produce 10 million bottles a year, making more than £85m”.
Fans of basketball and American football but diligent students too, the pair graduated and went on to study accountancy and finance at college before starting their first drinks venture in 2017.
The tabloid reports that Clemons, 29, now lives in a £2.4m high-rise apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, while Steiger, 28, resides in a luxury residence in Florida valued at £2.3m, boasting its own pool, 1.4-acre garden and dock. Not bad for someone who began his career flipping Big Macs in McDonald’s.
Companies House does not list either Logan Paul or KSI as holding a controlling share in Prime Hydration UK. But with 140m YouTube subscribers between them, it is obvious why Congo approached the transatlantic duo to promote the range, which aspires to challenge the likes of Gatorade and Powerade in the lucrative energy drinks market.
Prime Hydration was launched “to showcase what happens when rivals come together as brothers and business partners to fill the void where great taste meets function,” according to its official website.
It is sold in Meta Moon, Ice Pop, Blue Raspberry, Tropical Punch, Lemon Lime, Grape and Orange versions but, at the time of writing, all 12 packs retailing at £24.99 on the brand’s official website had been completely sold out too.
The drink contains 10 per cent coconut water, electrolytes and B vitamins and BCAAs and has zero sugar or caffeine and only around 20 calories per bottle, the manufacturers claim.
Last month, Asda ran out of bottles of the drink and crates began to be sold at extortionate prices on eBay, causing shoppers to descend on Wakey Wines in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, a newsagents with a cult reputation locally, in order to pick up supplies under the radar. The shop was reportedly charging £20 per bottle.
Another store, a Nisa Local in Worcester, was reportedly selling Prime Hydration for £15.
“Nobody has complained about the price,” that business’s owner, Ameer Khan, told The Sun.
“People leave their phone numbers with me so I can let them know we have some in stock.”