Monster Considers Developing Cannabis-Infused and Alcoholic Drinks

Executives at Monster Beverage Corp. told a meeting full of shareholders on June 6 that they are considering expanding to offer alcoholic and cannabis-infused beverages. While alcoholic beverage companies and drugs stores explore cannabis-infused items, energy drink companies are also drafting up plans of their own.

Monster Beverage Corp.—despite newcomers like BANG Energy—still leads the U.S. in energy drinks, and will probably continue to do so for the time being. Currently, the brand dominates around 42 percent of the U.S.’s energy drink market.

“We do have an appetite to look at alternative brands and to develop more beverages in the nonalcoholic … as well as the alcoholic market,” CEO Rodney Sacks told investors in a private session, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Coca-Cola has held an 18.5 percent minority stake in Monster since 2015. But Monster’s “noncompete” clause with Coke expires in a year, which could open more possibilities to buy nonalcoholic beverage brands and expand into additional markets.

The future of cannabis-infused drinks hinges upon the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s determinations on cannabidiol (CBD), which could happen relatively soon, given the recent public hearings that are taking place.

The energy drink business is a challenging field. Four Loko, for instance, was forced to remove caffeine from its alcoholic drinks after a series of controversies on the safety of combining alcohol with caffeine. Recently, a report from Monster stated that BANG Energy drinks were banned in the European Union, a decision that was applauded, but BANG Energy dispelled rumors about the allegations in another press release.

Monster also recently released a “healthier” line of energy drinks called Reign, which is intended to appeal to a new market. Until at least CBD is reclassified by the FDA, it will take time for the larger drink brands to invest in cannabis-infused drinks.

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