Monster to debut first flavored malt beverage alcohol product

Dive Brief:

  • Monster Beverage plans to launch its first flavored malt beverage alcohol product late this year, Co-CEO Rodney Sacks said in a statement.
  • The product, which will be called The Beast Unleashed, will contain 6% alcohol by volume and initially be available in four flavors. Monster will gradually roll out the drink with a goal of having it available nationally by the end of 2023, Sacks said.
  • While Monster is best known for its energy products, the company has been moving aggressively to enter the alcohol sector — further blurring the lines between beverage companies that until recently have focused on either booze or nonalcoholic drinks.

Dive Insight:

Monster announced in January it was acquiring Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective, a craft beer and hard seltzer company, for $330 million in cash. At the time, the energy drink maker said the deal provided Monster with a “springboard” to enter the alcoholic beverage space by providing it with all the infrastructure and necessary licenses it needed. 

The upcoming launch of The Beast Unleashed is the latest move by Monster to follow through on its commitment.

Alcohol remains a small but growing segment for the $51 billion Monster Beverage. Alcohol sales, which are comprised 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 Thursday. Overall, Monster’s net sales during the period were $1.7 billion — nearly all of it from its energy drink business. 

“Our alcohol innovation pipeline is robust, with a number of additional innovative product lines currently under development,” Sacks noted analysts. 

Monster also reportedly was exploring a deal with Modelo and Corona brewer Constellation Brands, according to media reports last fall. 

And it has been exploring other avenues for growth in recent years. It released the first 100% vegan energy drink called Java Monster Farmer’s Oats in 2019 that is made with oat milk, coffee and Monster’s energy blend that contains taurine, ginseng and guarana. It also reportedly has considered a move into cannabis.

Monster is the latest nonalcoholic beverage company to enter alcohol, although others have done so through partnership deals.

Coca-Cola teamed up with Molson Coors to create Topo Chico Hard Seltzer and Simply Spiked Lemonade and is working with Constellation to launch ready-to-drink cocktails through its Fresca brand. PepsiCo and Sam Adams maker Boston Beer have launched Hard Mtn Dew, while Diageo is partnering with The Vita Coco Company on a line of premium canned cocktails crafted with Captain Morgan rum and Vita Coco coconut water.

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. Monster is a juggernaut in energy drinks, but winning against giants like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Molson Coors and AB InBev, who are employing a similar strategy of moving into beverages once seemingly forbidden, is hardly a sure thing. If success does occur, it will take time.