Schweppes to distribute America’s leading energy drink in Australia

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 8th May 2009

Schweppes Australia, which was recently purchased by Asahi, has signed an agreement to sell the leading American energy drink in Australia.

Monster Energy, owned by Hansen Natural, will be launched by Schweppes on July 1, adding to the growing list of brands in the burgeoning Australian energy drink sector.

Last year, Coca-Cola Amatil showed the potential for new entrants with strong distribution networks with the successful relaunch of Mother gaining market share from leaders V and Red Bull, while Schweppes has said that sales of their new Spring Valley Smart Energy products are surpassing expectations.

“We are delighted with the opportunity this partnership brings,” Schweppes Australia’s Managing Director, David Beguely, said. “(The) recent launch of Spring Valley Smart Energy is performing ahead of expectations and we are incredibly excited to add the world famous Monster Energy brand to our extensive portfolio.”

‘Monster Energy’ is the leading energy drink in the US by volume and value, but Hansen has already got off to a rocky start in Australia due to their failure to register the Monster trade mark. Another company, Bickfords, began selling ‘Monster’ drinks in Australia in 2006 and were taken to court by Hansen last year for alleged misleading and deceptive practices. Their name, product and slogans were very similar to the Hansen product and Bickfords were reportedly aware that Monster Energy was the number two selling energy drink worldwide but also knew they had not formally launched in Australia.

The case was dismissed as the Court found that substantial advertising and strong sales overseas do not guarantee a reputation in Australia and, given there were no actual sales or promotion in Australia by Hansen at the time of the trial, no restraining order was placed on Bickfords.

Bickfords also launched a counter-claim to try and stop Hansen from ever selling Monster Energy in Australia, but this too was dismissed on the basis that Bickfords Monster drink brand was not strong enough in Australia either.

Last year the American-based company signed a distribution agreement with The Coca-Cola Company in the US, which enables Hansen the right to negotiate distribution agreements with coke bottlers around the world – such as Australia’s Coca-Cola Amatil. However, given the strength of Mother’s sales, the company has obviously decided that Schweppes would prove a more suitable partner in Australia.