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several nightclubs. Raymond Jolicoeur worked in Canada for several food and beverage companies, including Kraft and Allied Domecq, now part of Pernod Ricard. (A fifth partner, Eric Tomeo, joined later.)

In the late 1990s, Mr. Bazinet noticed energy drinks for sale in his travels in Europe and Japan and suggested to Mr. Jolicoeur that they introduce one in Canada.

They began experimenting with drinks in Mr. Jolicoeur’s Montreal apartment, mixing in botanical ingredients, like ginseng and guarana, that Mr. Bazinet had discovered during his travels. The inspiration for the name came from an article on Bill Gates, which described him as “the guru of technology.”

“It was like, wow, you know, this should be the guru of all drinks, as strong as we can make it, as healthy as we can make it,” Mr. Bazinet said.

Bankrolled by the founders’ savings accounts, the company sold its first can of Guru at a small deli in Montreal in 2000. By the end of the first year of production, nearly one million cans

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