Monster Beverage confirmed its long-awaited entrance into the alcoholic beverage category during its second quarter earnings call last week, announcing that Beast Unleashed will launch later this year. It will be the energy drink brand’s first new alcoholic beverage since the beverage maker acquired CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective for $330 million in early 2022.
“The Beast Unleashed will contain six percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and will initially be available in four flavors,” said Rodney Sacks, co-chief executive officer and chairman of Monster Beverage, in a press release. “The Beast Unleashed will launch through beer distributors in the United States, utilizing a phased state launch approach, with the goal of being national by the end of 2023.”
The new alcoholic offering will initially be offered in 16-ounce single-serve cans and a variety pack of 12-ounce sleek cans. While the CANarchy acquisition acted as its springboard to enter the alcoholic beverage category, Beast Unleashed will be the first time Monster has leveraged its namesake brand in the alcohol space, and Sacks suggested the possibility of further launches in the future.
Alcohol remains a small but growing segment for Monster Beverage. Alcohol sales, which consist of the craft beers and hard seltzers purchased as part of the CANarchy acquisition, were $32.4 million for the second quarter, the company said in the same press release. Overall, Monster’s net sales during the period were $1.7 billion — nearly all of it from its energy drink business.
Monster has been exploring other avenues for growth in recent years. It released the first 100 percent vegan energy drink called Java Monster Farmer’s Oats in 2019, which is made with oat milk, coffee and Monster’s energy blend that contains taurine, ginseng and guarana. Monster Energy Zero Sugar is also being added to the group’s roster as part of a bid to retain older consumers that wish to reduce their sugar consumption.
Monster is the latest non-alcoholic beverage company to enter the alcohol beverage category with Beast Unleashed, although others have done so through partnership deals. Coca-Cola teamed up with the Brown-Forman Corporation to create a ready-to-drink (RTD) Jack Daniel’s and Coke in a can. Meanwhile, PepsiCo partnered with Boston Beer to launch Hard Mtn Dew.
Even as consumers look for more alcohol options in convenient RTD cans, the category has become increasingly crowded with these offerings and countless others yet to come. The global RTD alcohol market size was valued at $32.94 billion in 2021 and it is expected to reach $85.5 billion in 2030, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2 percent.
Demand for flavored alcoholic beverages and the adoption of low alcohol content beverages are predicted to fuel the RTD alcohol industry. The market is further driven by the consumption of RTD alcoholic beverages, including hard kombucha, hard seltzer cocktails, flavored alcoholic beverages and wine spritzers.
Monster is a giant in the world of energy drinks, but winning against beverage juggernauts like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and AB InBev, who are employing a similar strategy of moving into the alcoholic beverage category, is not guaranteed. If the new Beast Unleashed proves to be successful, it will likely take time.