A lot of people like coffee, tea or soda, but if you’re part of the younger generation you probably drink Monster Energy drinks or something like them. These sweet, caffeinated and carbonated beverages are marketed as something other than soda, but it’s time you learned the untold truths.
10. Natural Monster
You might be surprised to learn that Monster Energy Drink was created in a laboratory by Hansen’s Natural. This is a soft drink brand long associated with healthier alternatives to big brand sugary sodas. The company has been around since the 1930s and is a family owned business started by Hubert Hanson and his sons. Hanson’s Natural started as a fruit juice company, but in the 1970s the company decided to get into the soda business. The company was able to find a niche as an alternative soft drink maker who marketed sodas with real fruit juices. Things started to change in 2002 when Hanson’s Natural debuted a new product called Monster Energy Drink. To say the new drink was a great success would be an understatement. Annual revenues exploded from $50 million to $1.7 billion. But how natural really, are Monster Energy Drinks? Like a lot of things, it’s relative because Hanson’s Natural does use some fruit juices and other natural ingredients in its sodas. Monster Energy Drinks contain ginseng, caffeine, niacin, B12 and some taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that helps your body digest fats. Compared to the big brand sodas it seems like Monster is relatively healthy.
9. Monsters v. Beasties
It’s a bit convoluted, but the rap group Beastie Boys and Monster Energy Drink got themselves embroiled in a nasty legal fight. The drama began in 2012 after a DJ named Z-Trip was given a cut of a Beastie Boys megamix recorded at a music festival inspired by Monster Energy Drinks. Monster Energy asked the DJ about the music and he responded by saying “Dope!” The folks at Monster thought this gave the company permission to use the track as part of its online advertising. But not so fast said DJ Z-Trip who argued he hadn’t given his permission to Monster to use it. The resulting law suit revolved around the actual meaning of the word “dope” and what Z-Trip had meant when he said it. The other issue in the case was whether or not use of the music by Monster Energy Drink constituted an endorsement by the Beastie Boys of Monster. This case sounds pretty silly in the grand scheme of things, but the outcome was fairly serious: The Beastie Boys were awarded $1.7 for their trouble. The Boys went back to court, however, to try to recoup the money they’d spent on lawyers. This case dragged on until 2016 and the final settlement involved a nondisclosure agreement so we don’t know how much they got. Any chance the Beastie Boys enjoy a Monster now and then?
8. No Monsters in India
There are plenty of things to drink in India, but one thing they don’t have anymore are Monster Energy drinks. The main problem the Indian government had with this particular energy drink was the combination of caffeine and ginseng. Caffeine, of course, is a stimulant and ginseng has a bit of a calming effect, so in 2015 the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) decided that these ingredients would essentially cancel each other out so what was the point? We know the point was to sell a lot of Monster Energy drinks to people who could be convinced that the beverage actually gave them a little energy boost. There was also a report that the FFSAI had an issue with the amount of caffeine the drinks contain and that some of the drinks that were tested apparently contained higher levels of caffeine than advertised. It’s unclear whether the Indian government acted on its own or was prompted to do so by consumers complaints. Despite the nationwide ban however, stores were still selling the popular beverages a month after the ban went into place. Tzinga and Cloud 9, two similar energy drinks were also banned by the FSSAI for similar reasons. Indian officials responded by saying it would take some time for the recall to fully go into effect. Maybe the conflicting ingredients don’t make a whole lot of sense, but why not leave it up to the consumer to decide?
7. Monster Mash
The original Monster Energy drink debuted in 2002 with six variations, but since that time the number of styles has grown to nine and the total number of flavors stands at 34. The original Monster Energy doesn’t list a specific flavor on its packaging, but some people have described it as having a slight apple taste. The styles are categories such as Rehab, Muscle Ultra, Java and Hydro. Within the Rehab style, which is tea based there are several flavors such as white dragon, lemonade, pink lemonade peach tea and orangeade and raspberry tea. The Muscle Style of Monster Energy drink has the addition of protein so these can be used as a post workout and recovery drink to help you build muscle. This style of Monster drink only comes in chocolate and vanilla. For those people who love Monster, but want fewer calories has the option of choosing the Ultra Style of flavors. These healthier options include the zero-calorie flavors like absolutely zero, sunrise, and citron. With all these different styles and flavors there are more than enough choices for even the pickiest of tastes. Even with 34 flavors it’s a good bet that the Monster flavors will continue to expand in order to stimulate customers’ taste buds and their urge to open their wallets.
6. Extremely Monster
Although the Beastie Boys association with Monster Energy Drinks was less than pleasant, there are plenty of celebrities that are sponsored by the popular beverage. The company also favors musical acts like the rapper Lil Xan and the colorfully named Five Finger Death Punch. The singer DaniLeigh has been one of Monster’s biggest musical stars to date. In February 2020 the company announced she would be headlining the upcoming Monster Outbreak Tour. Most of its customers are kids, especially boys so it’s no surprise that Monster likes to sponsor car racing, video game players, BMX bikers. These are generally thought of as extreme sports that are popular with teenage boys who are looking for their next adrenaline rush. In 2017 the company signed a deal with NASCAR which is all about adrenaline so this partnership seems destined to be a success. Monster is a big presence at both the Summer and Winter X Games. These games feature sports like skateboarding and and snow boarding, respectively and are a big draw on ESPN. Always looking for a new opportunity to reach a younger customer base, Monster has stepped into the ring and started to sponsor MMA fighters. The beverage company was one of the forces behind the recent UFC 251 Fight island held in Dubai in July 2020. Monster certainly seems to know who its customer base is and is aggressively marketing to them. These efforts have paid off because Monster Energy is second only to Red Bull in the war for energy drink supremacy.
5. Sugar Monster
Soda drinkers know that there favorite bubbly beverages contain a lot of sugar. Soda companies know their customers know this and it’s why they offer calorie free “diet” versions of their drinks. Monster Energy drinks are billed as something different than your average Coke or Pepsi because they include some exotic ingredients like taurine and ginseng. But not only does a 16 oz. can of the original Monster flavor have 160 mg of caffeine it also has a whopping 54 gm of sugar. 54 gm of sugar is equal to 13 teaspoons. This eye opening amount is supposedly mitigated by the fact that a 16 oz. can is recommended to be two servings, but how many kids split their can of Monster with a friend? This combination of sugar and caffeine has fueled many a late night marathon video game session, but at the cost of precious sleep and probably a few teeth. Because they know not everyone wants that much sugar in a drink Monster Energy does offer sugar free choices in the form of the Ultra Style varieties such as Absolutely Zero. One of the problems with sugary drinks is that many people, especially young people, may not be aware how many calories some drinks can have. A 16 can of Monster contains 220 calories so if someone drinks a couple of these a day the calories add up fast. If customers are willing to trade some of the taste for calories the zero calories options make sense, but what kids wants to be lectured about these kinds of things.
4. Monster in the Court Room
Monster Energy Drink’s marketing efforts have tried to portray the brand as cool and hip – associating itself with young musicians and extreme athletes. This is the picture Monster wants its customers to see, but the reality is a little different. The beverage maker has actual been quite litigious – suing anyone who is unlucky enough to come to its attention. Monster jealously guards its name against attempts to use similar names. Even though Monster Energy sells drinks, it pursued legal action against a company called MonsterFishKeepers.com arguing that it was guilty of copyright infringement. This might seem a little silly but a lot is at stake in cases like these. In this case the fish company successfully defended itself, but a case like this also serves to put other businesses on notice that Monster Energy is lurking out there somewhere waiting to pounce. Some people argue that Monster has engaged in a nasty practice called “trademark bullying.” This is a tactic where a company uses its rights to a trademark to harass other businesses. Apparently even monsters are thin skinned because the company sued a website because it gave them a bad review. For a giant company with global sales in the billions of dollars this seems particularly petty. So far, however, Monster seems to have been able to maintain its image as a cool, hip company in tune with the younger generation even as it throws its weight around in the courtroom.
3. Monster Brews
Monster Energy drinks are billed as somewhat healthy drinks that provide a little bit of a boost for young people pushing their limits on a skate board or in their basement playing the latest video game. However, because people are people, it wasn’t long before some started to experiment with mixing Monster Energy with different kinds of alcohol. With 34 flavors of Monster Energy drinks and counting and well.. a lot of different kinds of alcohol the possibilities seem to be endless. As far as energy drinks go, Monster is probably a good choice for a mixer because it doesn’t have a strong flavor that would interfere too much with the taste of your alcohol of choice – only compliment it. The part that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people is the idea that you’d want to mix a highly caffeinated beverage with alcohol, which of course is not a stimulant, but a depressant. It seems like the conflicting chemicals would sort of cancel each other out, but apparently a growing number of drinkers enjoy these concoctions. One popular Monster cocktail combines the energy drink with Absolut vodka and is called a Pickerdo. Another scary concoction includes Monster, Jagermeister Herbal Liqueur and Malibu Mango Rum. The Loch Ness Monster could be interesting: Monster, Southern Comfort Black Label Peach Schnapps, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila and eight other kinds of alcohol. This one actually sounds more ridiculous than interesting, but it’s certainly a monster of cocktail.
2. Hot Monsters
The same young men who like energy drinks, loud music and thrilling sports also tend to appreciate a beautiful young woman. It probably doesn’t come as a shock then that Monster Energy has a troop of young women who are part of the company’s marketing efforts to capture the attention of young men. Think Laker Girls or Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders with a slightly harder edge and you’ve got the Monster Girls. Monster Energy has collected an international bevy of beauties that includes Ashley from the United States, Danelle from South Africa, Yesenia from Mexico and Alena from the Czech Republic. Monsterenergy.com has a feature called Monster Girl Monday, but fans have to access content exclusively at Monster’s channels. The site isn’t very clear on what kind of content fans can expect, but it says the girls will brighten your day. The Monster Girls were in Dubai in October 2019 as part of Monster’s marketing efforts to support a dune buggy rally held in the desert. The photographs show the women having a great time careening over the dunes in the tricked out buggies and it does look like a lot of fun. Fun is the point right? Monster is selling fun and excitement in the form of energy drinks and the Monster Girls are part of the fun. Are the Monster Girls just another collection of pretty faces? Perhaps, but it seems to be working for Monster.
1. Monstrous Conspiracy
Conspiracy theories can be ridiculous, fun or even downright paranoid. The conspiracy theories that have grown up around Monster Energy drinks are a combination of all of these. Strange stories about this popular beverage enjoyed by millions of young people around the world started to circulate on the Internet and social media platforms around 2009. A person put out a video that purported to explain the satanic symbolism supposedly hiding in plane sight on Monster Energy’s labels. The video presentation described the familiar three fingered claw design as a representation of the the Hebrew “vav” or the number six. This was said to show that the drink was displaying “666” or the sign of the beast. The problem with this urban legend is that it apparently misunderstands how Hebrew displays numbers. In Hebrew you would write “six hundred sixty six” instead of “six six six.” However, the satanic conspiracy didn’t stop there. The conspiracy minded among us also pointed to the “O” used in the word “Monster” that they say contains a cross that is turned upside down when the can is tipped up when someone takes a sip. The problem with this one is that the the exotic looking “O” was taken from the pre-Christian Greek symbol known as “phi.” Some people want to see nefarious patterns and global conspiracy, but it turns out that Monster Energy drinks are completely harmless – at least on a spiritual underworld plane.