Monster Beverage is thinking about energizing its product line-up with cannabis and alcohol, as the energy drink manufacturer clashes with investor Coca Cola.
At the company’s 2019 annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, Monster CEO Rodney Sacks said the brand is looking to increase its portfolio into different categories beyond energy drinks.
“We do have an appetite to look at alternative brands and to develop more beverages in the nonalcoholic … as well as the alcoholic market,” said Sacks according to The Wall Street Journal.
Alcoholic beverages would likely be the first step, as Monster is still engaged in mediation to resolve a dispute over the interpretation of terms in their 2015 distribution after Coca-Cola released a competing line of energy drinks.
Once the non-compete clause expires in a year, Monster would be able to look at expansion into soft drinks. Sacks said the company would stand by the outcome of the arbitration hearings and Monster and Coca Cola “will continue to work together as partners regardless.”
When asked if Monster might also consider launching a drink similar to Four Loko, which combined caffeine and alcohol, Sacks says the company hasn’t come to a decision.
“I’m not sure we would consider Four Loko, but there are other products in the alcohol side, whether it’s on the malt side, the seltzer side or in the hard alcohol, spirits side, there may well be some good opportunities. We are looking at some of them at the moment, and we haven’t made any decisions to do anything, but that’s something we would certainly be open to.”
Although treading into the alcoholic energy drink space should be done with extreme caution. This was clearly demonstrated after Four Loko made headlines following a number of hospitalizations and deaths of consumers, prompting the makers to remove caffeine from the beverage.
As cannabis continues to generate buzz in food and beverage, the energy drink giant said it was open to exploring the use of cannabis in its products, but only once it is legalized at the federal level.
Also discussed at the meeting was the company’s new sports drink Reign, which was launched in March to compete in the performance energy drinks category against VPX’s Bang and Red Bull.
According to Sacks, the company reported sales over $70 million through the end of May, with projections of soon being a “$300 million brand.” Monster is expecting further growth for the drink as the company transitions from convenience stores into larger retail channels and chains like Walmart.
Diversifying its portfolio to include alcoholic, non-alcoholic and cannabis beverages would be a smart move for Monster, as the energy drink giant faces an increasingly competitive market for energy drinks.