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Hill runs on Celsius: The energy drink fueling the Capitol

For those who work in the ecosystem that is Capitol Hill, hours are often long and temperatures can run hot.

But a new elixir has emerged as a fuel for Congress, helping people recharge their batteries and allow cooler heads to prevail — Celsius energy.

The fruity energy drink, which features flavors such as Sparkling Kiwi Guava and Arctic Vibe, is suddenly ubiquitous, culminating in House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) being pictured carrying a can earlier this week.

Staffers confirmed that his office is always stocked with Celsius, noting that not only is his staff hooked on the energy drink but also the speaker himself.

A staffer told the Washington Examiner that Johnson started drinking Celsius after his wife introduced him to it, and now the speaker enjoys sipping on almost every flavor — that is, with the exception of either Sparkling Cola or Mandarin Marshmallow.

Aside from that, the staffer said, Johnson “truly will drink any of them.”

In nearly every cafeteria or vending machine market in the Capitol office buildings, one is sure to locate a plethora of options to choose from, and it is largely lauded by Hill staffers as the juice that keeps the government working.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) says he enjoys the fruity flavors available to purchase, noting fellow Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) introduced him to the trend. Luna is known for her enthusiasm for the fruity beverages, especially after posting a photo on X last year showing her attempting to salvage a Celsius can that got stuck in a vending machine.

“The berry one is the one I grab, usually whichever one Luna hands me,” Burchett said. “She got the hook-up on it in the speaker’s refrigerator, and we just use our congressional privilege and walk right past security and go in there and get us a Celsius. She is my Celsius pusher.”

Lawmakers in the upper chamber have also embraced the fad.

“I’m a Celsius girl,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) told reporters in an elevator this week.

Of course, members of Congress and their staffs are not the only addicts present on the Hill.

Victoria Knight, an Axios reporter who covers healthcare, has carved out an unofficial second job and a healthy social media following as a food critic on Capitol Hill. She explained that Congressional reporters from multiple outlets have also fallen victim to the fizzy flavors.

“Hill reporters nowadays are usually holding two things in their hands while they’re running around the Capitol: their cellphone and a Celsius,” Knight told the Washington Examiner. “When we’re not talking to lawmakers we’re probably discussing what Celsius number for the day we’re on or what flavors the vending machine has available.”

Knight recalls the popularity of Celsius first booming among congressional reporters last summer at “grueling stakeouts” during debt ceiling negotiations between then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the White House that often dragged into the late hours of the night.

That “Celsius dependence,” as Knight referred to it, only began to solidify months later when McCarthy was ousted from the speakership and reporters had to cover a three-week speaker’s race to find his replacement.

“We’re now at a point where it feels like Celsius is actually the foundation for the modern Fourth Estate,” she said.

Celsius first debuted in 2005, but the energy drink wasn’t fully thrust into the public view until the last five years or so. Now, thanks in part to a distribution deal with PepsiCo that began in 2022, the company has skyrocketed to a net worth of nearly $14 billion as of June 2024 — up from $280 million in 2018.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Although the drink has undoubtedly grown in popularity on Capitol Hill, not all lawmakers are fully convinced it’s the best method of caffeine — yet.

“I don’t drink Celsius,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) said. “But I do drink four cups of coffee a day.”



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