retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a piece about how Coca-Cola may be taking a bit of a risk as it "prepares to assume 16.7 percent" of Monster Beverage Corp., a company that recently has "settled two wrongful-death lawsuits, and another suit involving the death of a 14-year-old could reach a jury this summer. It faces at least five product-liability lawsuits."

The story notes that "the Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether energy drinks are riskier than other caffeinated products. A civil case against Monster by the San Francisco city attorney is scheduled for trial in February. The New York state attorney general has alleged in an ongoing investigation that Monster paid college 'ambassadors' to encourage underage freshmen to mix Monster with alcohol and supplied company-branded funnels for rapid consumption."

Monster maintains that all the legal challenges and investigations are without merit, and that its drinks are safe.
KC's View:
Monster hardly is alone in an energy drink category that has had questions raised about safety and litigation aimed at holding companies responsible for deaths and injuries.

I know this. I have told all my kids that I don't want them drinking this stuff, that I am utterly convinced that there are all sorts of dangers in these products lurking below the surface. I think that while energy drink companies claim that they don't encourage mixing them with alcohol or consumption by young people, it is with a wink and a smile, because they know that's where a lot of their appeal lies.

And I think Coke potentially is playing with fire as it completes this acquisition.