Is Bang Energy Dead?
Quick history lesson
Bang Energy, a well-known energy drink brand that we have covered extensively on this site, filed for bankruptcy on October 10, 2022. The company cited multiple factors for its financial troubles, including lawsuits, declining market share, and a failed distribution deal.
Bang Energy was founded in 2012 by Jack Owoc, pictured above. The company quickly became a major player in the energy drink market, thanks to its high-caffeine drinks and edgy marketing campaigns. In 2018, Bang Energy was acquired by PepsiCo for $500 million.
In a statement that sums up how that relationship went, Owoc claimed that PepsiCo "engaged in a premeditated plan to destroy the energy drink".
Bang Energy's success was short-lived. In 2020, the company was sued by Monster Energy for false advertising. Monster Energy alleged that Bang Energy had falsely claimed that its drinks contained creatine, a muscle-building supplement. A jury found in Monster Energy's favor and awarded the company $293 million in damages.
The lawsuit with Monster Energy was a major blow to Bang Energy. The company also faced declining market share. In 2021, Bang Energy's market share fell from 9.7% to 6.3%.
In an attempt to turn things around, Bang Energy entered into a distribution deal with Anheuser-Busch in 2022. However, the deal was ultimately unsuccessful. Anheuser-Busch pulled out of the deal in September 2022, citing financial reasons.
With its financial troubles mounting, Bang Energy filed for bankruptcy on October 10, 2022. The company said it plans to use bankruptcy protection to restructure its debt and put in place a new distribution network.
It remains to be seen whether Bang Energy will be able to emerge from bankruptcy. However, the company's bankruptcy filing is a major setback for the energy drink industry.
Bang is a lonely brand after the nasty break-up with PepsiCo, failed negotiations with Keurig Dr. Pepper, and recent bankruptcy. I don't think large brands like Monster or Red Bull would take the risk of damaging their brand image to acquire the floundering Bang/VPX IP.
However, despite the recent struggles, I do think that the IP and brand still have the potential to bounce back specifically in the pre-workout space. I believe that a PE firm or private company associated with a brand like Adrenaline Shoc, All Black Everything (ABE), or Alani Nu could buy the company and return the brand to greatness with a revamped marketing strategy.
A combined, pre-workout and fitness-focused company could take advantage of synergies and economies of scale by targeting the same niche and demographic.
I'm rooting for Bang to bounce back, mostly so they can come up with more crazy flavors like Birthday Cake Bash for me to roast, but also because I think that the more players in this rapidly growing market, the better.