Bang Energy Rose With a Bang and Ended With an Energy Drink Buyout

Bang Energy fell as quickly as it rose as one of the major energy drink conglomerates in a saga of corruption and failure.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Mar. 6 2024, Published 1:29 p.m. ET

Throughout our lives, different products pop up that can change us forever. Many people drink coffee for energy, but others rely on energy drinks, and when you find the one you love, it’s nearly impossible to change. Every energy drink has a different formula with a unique taste and feeling. Bang Energy was known for its wide variety of flavors and sugar-free options.

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But today, it seems like Bang Energy is nowhere to be found. It rose up quickly on the heels of brands like Red Bull and Monster, but it fell just as quickly. So what happened to Bang Energy and will it ever be the same?

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What happened to Bang Energy? It went through a period of corruption and bankruptcy.

The idea of Bang began in 1993 when CEO and founder Jack Owoc created VPX, which would later become Bang’s parent company, Vital Pharmaceuticals. In 2012, Vital created Bang to compete with many already popular energy drinks. It seemed like a tough market to crack, but Jack was ready for the job.

Bang’s niche in the market was that it was marketed as a low-sugar, high-quality nutritional supplement. In fact, in 2017, Bang created a no-caffeine energy drink that used beta-alanine instead. In 2020, it started partnering with PepsiCo, which really brought Bang from a competitor to its own major force in the energy drink market.

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Bang Energy founder Jack Owoc
Source: LinkedIn

Bang Energy founder Jack Owoc

Eventually, however, Bang faced a series of lawsuits that would lead to the company’s bankruptcy. Monster sued Vital for engaging in consumer deception (regarding its ingredients and supposed health benefits) and anti-competitive business practices. In a separate suit, Monster and Orange Bang sued Vital for trademark infringement. Add to that Bang’s claim of “Super Creatine” in its drinks, and Monster won its false-advertising case against Bang.

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In 2021, Bang was sued by Sony Music for using their music without licensing it, and in August 2022, Prince’s estate sued Bang for using the “Purple Rain” trademark without their permission. In addition, Bang’s partnership with PepsiCo fell apart when Bang sued PepsiCo for alleging that PepsiCo misrepresented itself as Bang’s exclusive distributor, but the court ruled that the contract was in PepsiCo’s favor.

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Add to all this Jack Owoc’s reported corruption, and there are quite a few tears in Bang Energy. Jack allegedly funneled over $100 million from company earnings into his own private real estate endeavors, his son’s real estate ambitions, and even his personal tax payments. He was quickly fired and soon after, Vital Pharmaceuticals declared bankruptcy.

Monster Beverage bought out Bang Energy.

Luckily, before Bang Energy could completely fall apart, Monster bailed them out by purchasing the brand in a $362 million deal in July 2023. This is just slightly more than Monster won in their legal cases against Bang, so it’s a pretty good deal for them. While this means that Bang Energy isn’t dead forever, it will never be the same.

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Because Monster has so many eyes on them, we doubt they’ll use the same marketing ruses Bang once used to try to compete with the monopolies. In addition, Monster has since discontinued all of Vital’s other products, which included Natural Bang, Bang Keto Coffee, Bang Shots, Bang ThermIQ, Bang MIXX Hard Seltzer, and more.

All that’s left now is the Bang Energy drink with Monster’s oversight and recipe. So it’s safe to say, it will never be the same.

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