View Full Version : What is the deciding factor? The Bottom Line

04-06-2005, 09:37 PM
In recent topics Lepke has brought up the point that successful products are not "dogs" and must have "legs" i.e. just to refesh it doesnt mater quality or quantity, what maters is a products turn over rate or shelf life. I agree with him 100%.
I own a few bars in NYC and I know from experience with beers, alcohols and other products, that what is "cool" and what is known is going to sell. All I have to say is Budweiser. I wont drink it but people buy it and thats what im gonna sell!
I dont know that all my customers ask for red bull, but i am positive that majority do. Depending on which one of my bars it is ive noticed that the people dont care about what energy drinks they get as long as it works. I also know that if i served them crap out of a gun and it made them have that feeling they ultimatly wanted, they are satisfied. Plus I really dont like red bull that much. And ive tasted alot of these other ones that people try to sell to my guys that i kinda like but if i were in a store or even in my bar and i was gonna drink an Energy drink i would take a Red Bull. Point being that I know your dog/leg anaylisis is true.
The reason I am writting this is because I may be going partners in a new major nightclub and if I make this investment I want this place to have the "next thing". I dont want a bias opinion I would like an honest ansewer!
We have established that taste doesnt matter, and Lepke has stressed that good distribution may be the backbone of a successful Energy Drink. But there has to be more to it than that. Obviously marketing would be the other main factor but what aspects of maketing are the most pertinant to an energy drinks success. In particular what things should I pay close attention to when recieving their proposals!

Coco Rico
04-06-2005, 10:36 PM
You should be looking for a company with a long-term approach and creativity to adapt their marketing to fit your establishment. Most brands, energy drink or otherwise, are just using an account to gain quick visibility. They trash the account's image with cheap signage and swag, and really offer nothing in terms of a long term commitment to the growth of your establishment.

What I would look for is someone who is willing to spend time in my establishment getting to know my people and my vision. I would want a brand interested in helping my overall business as well as my own. Essentially I would want a partnership.

Now I know that sounds lofty, but there are brands and distributors out there willing to take those steps. It's only a matter of finding them.

Also, as a sidenote, I wouldn't recommend passing off any product for another. Centro-Fly tried to pass off a knock off product when their customers ordered Red Bull - and they lost a fairly large settlement to Red Bull. If it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone.

Just my 2 cents...


04-06-2005, 11:27 PM
If your customers are asking for red bull give them red bull. If not red bull then some thing that taste like red bull but make sure they know it’s not red bull.
Red bull is now a mixer and is here to stay like 7 up. And like 7 up you can offer a customer sprite with their Seagram’s 7 and they will take it and not have a problem.
Odds are the next big thing may be an energy drink. And may not be a mixer.
Other then red bull when was the last time you saw a new mixer? Now any ginger ale or tonic water will do. People are not asking for ocean spray they are asking for cranberry. Much of the effect is imagined any way when mixing this stuff. So in time it won’t matter if it’s really red bull as long as it taste like it. That time has not yet come, till then Just give them red bull. Orange tasting energy drink is not what they want and most likely not worth your time to start a new trend in mixers. $1.33 a can to you, up charge the crap out of it and move on.

04-07-2005, 09:18 AM
Red Bull a mixer? What mixer adds 4 or 5 dollars to your drink price? Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, Coke?

When I first saw Red Bull in 1997 no one was thinking hey let's put this bitter green stuff in a perfectly good glass of Vodka!

The Red Bull marketing machine went to work and it became the thing to do, Red Bull is a genius in that respect. You have to admire a company that can take a product that does not look or taste good into a Jaugernaut!

With that said it is time for club owners to also understand that lots of people would love a new energy drink at the bar. I can get a can of Red Bull at any corner mom and pops. When I go out at night I would like something new with an edge.

Christian Prickett
04-07-2005, 02:40 PM
Why not try bringing in a few of this not so big name energy drinks, (everyone not Red Bull or Rock Star) and only stock a few cases at a time. Then as a happy hour or late night drink special advertise Sky Bawls, or Captain Rock Star, or Pucker & Pimp Juice? I really don't know that much about the club industry, I'm content with a backwoods bar that I ask to get me a case of Bawls a month for my mixer.

I can say that no one can honestly predict the next big thing; you can only say I told you so after it happens.

the saint
04-07-2005, 03:42 PM
The next big thing is Pepsi with lime.. no wait that is what my boss told me last night hmm oh yeah it is going to be tropicana twister soda, no he told me that as well..
In all honesty I agree completely with christian in the fact that NOONE can predict the next big thing. I know that if I were able to I wouldn't be on this message board I would be doing as Will Rogers said."..get there first and buy it all...then sell it for a big profit"

04-07-2005, 10:32 PM
Coco rico did centro fly get sued for having it in the gun or was it because they were just providing a differnt drink in the can?

Coco Rico
04-07-2005, 10:54 PM
I'm not sure of the specifics. I just know that I read an article about it in the Wall Street Journal a while back. All it said was that they were passing off a generic energy drink when Red Bull was requested and they weren't informing their consumers of the switch.

In a different article, I read about a bar in San Diego - called Moon Doggies I think - that was passing off a product on a gun and they got popped for something like $50,000 + legal fees.


Fruity Pebbles
04-12-2005, 12:16 AM
I recall that. I actually worked directly adjacent to that nightclub at Pacific Beach Bar & Grill. The overall attitude we had towards Red Bull is who really cares -- it's just some silly "energy drink" (with respects that this was a while ago and the entire concept seemed kinda ridiculous). After the suit we immediately got the notion that this company is pretty damn serious about its brand.

We eventually became the biggest seller of Red Bull in all of southern Cali. I'm in FL now so who knows if that is the case any longer now that every nightclub, bar and rest. and major hotel pretty much serves it.

As a former nighclub operator for 10 years I have the same feeling. I'm here to make a buck while providing a safe and fun atmosphere. I am not getting into trying to improve upon something that is proven to sell. I am not toying with my lines, trying to create new drinks with different, unknown and unproven mixers that no one hears about hoping that it'll blow up -- especially when they cannot back up their brand effectively. I am certainly not going to burden my bartenders, waitresses and cocktailers with learning, pushing and ringing these unknown libations. I would if I truly thought it would be worth it. But Red Bull sells. If it aint broke -- you know the rest.

Time is money in that industry. Simplicity for your staff tends to also lean towards easier maintenance for them and the operators. To date, Red Bull somehow still finds a way to be cutting edge. It is still the rage at bars and with all the endorsements from pop stars and trendy players (all those MTV chumps stil have them in thier fridge in CRIBS and in thier mits in the dressing room).

Thats money. Money for you and money for Red Bull. Much of that is put right back into marketing and support for it's accounts -- just like some of your major beer and liquor reps do. The thing with RB is that it's the ONLY energy drink that'll truly do that.

So, I feel comfortable saying that RB is like the Budweiser of energy drinks.

04-12-2005, 10:54 AM
I guess with that attitude we would have never gotten past Captain and Coke! Remember less than 10 years ago Red Bull was an unknown libation. Red Bull has brought a new income source to many bars but remember less than 1 in 10 people that go to a bar order Red Bull. The reason is either they don't like it or they would rather drink something else. That leaves alot of room for others. A few years ago Red Bull had a 75% market share and today it is less than 50% and dropping. Red Bull has done a wonderful job but there are others now that are as good and even better. Red Bull will always be the one who got it all started in the US but the market is changing and Red Bull is no longer alone.

Fruity Pebbles
04-12-2005, 10:21 PM
True, but the other energy drink Co's will have to cough up the dough to compete with RB's commercial capability, account support, brand integrity, etc. RB outspends their closest competition by about 90%. I am not saying it is the "best" product. That is a personal choice. But they do back up their one and only brand.

As a nightclub operator, if another Edrink were to show the same support as my Red Bull rep, invite me to dozens of "Red Bull experiences", ship me stainless steel bars and tables for my events, give me fridges and have their product endorsed by stars so that the public would trust it and be more swayed to purchase it, then I'd create another drink menu for them. But honestly, who is doing that but Red Bull?

We need to be sold by other products to actually distribute them. For most of us, not all, but most, we need something a little more than "it tastes better than Red Bull and costs less". That accounts for for bottom line increases only if people will buy it. Otherwise, the volume sales of Red Bull, and the fact that I carry a premium product (you don't want to be the only bar on the blvd who doesn't have it) is what increases revenue.

04-12-2005, 10:47 PM
I think you missed the point. You need to offer your customers choice. Again, less than 10% of your customers nightly drink Red Bull. Do you think the other 90% don't want to drink an energy drink? Red Bull is a staple we all know that but do you sell just one Vodka? Do something for the rest of your customers, something new and fresh.

04-13-2005, 12:29 AM
Fruity, so what do you do? Peddle Red Bull during the day and Run the Club by night?

04-13-2005, 12:31 AM
Originally posted by Fruity Pebbles:

So, I feel comfortable saying that RB is like the Budweiser of energy drinks. Thats a bummer man. Because Buds sales are flat lining. :eek:

[ 04-13-2005, 12:32 AM: Message edited by: EnergyKing ]

04-13-2005, 08:24 AM
RB is good, and I'm glad they're doing well, but quite frankly I'm tired of hearing about them. There's so many other great drinks on the market, and I feel that they should be promoted better so people know they have a choice.

Ron Swedelson
04-13-2005, 08:55 PM
NRG...they are promoted, and if you walk into any store, its obvious that there are choices...if you are talking about onpremise...well then it gets limited, but thats because it is a small part of most bars income. Its easy extra money...but just some side money. Damon is right...only about 10% of the customers will even drink an RB and something...that number does not double or tripple if you add RS or SP or Monster...the customer base is small for the bars...it mainly helps the company as keeping RB part of a fun experience.

Fruity Pebbles
04-13-2005, 11:00 PM
The point was what energy drink would make money in a nighclub? I am not going to reiterate my point as I made it pretty clear I think. If there was another point beyond that, I truly must have missed it.

Is there supposed to be a moral point? Some point that is designed to reveal that every company out there should be given a "fair shot"? Or that nightclubs should invest their time and money into something that just might, maybe, turn out to sell as much as Red Bull. If there's only 10% of people that are drinking Edrinks there anyway, why struggle through a change of product to recieve the same sales (and I don't think that would happen)?

Do you think that with another product, this percentage would actually increase? Hey, I could buy that. But again, where is the support structure, marketing, branding, etc?

So, where I will leave this is: Sure people should be given choices...I am not disagreeing with that. But with choices, operators need to be shown that they are going to sell more in their Edrink category. I am saying that other COs need to step up to the plate and produce some incentive to convince bars to give them a shot. Obviously, this would take a lot of clever marketing and, yes, a lot of money. Are there "better tasting" Edrinks out there? YES! I'd be an idiot to think that EVERYONE ONLY LOVES RED BULL. (personally, I am a fan of 69) I just don't see how they will bone up to this demand since RB has locked down so much in this category and focuses on it with such fervor. And I have to admit, it does tend to mix well with a lot of liquors whereas some other Edrinks seem to taste better only as a single serve.

Look, I'm not yring to be argumentative here. I see already I am being called out as a "peddler". Well, thats not necessary. No, I have often wondered, as an operator and as a sales rep, just how will these other COs make their stake in this area. I offer nothing but points that would need to be addressed to do so.

Ron: by the way, I've always admired your mediating skills.

Bawls: Former nightclub operator. Now I consult in that field and sell Red Bull On-Premise. I think the background gives me great insight for what I do and where I conduct business now. I think we can dispense with the whole "peddler" moniker. No one on the board should be called that for what they do.

The Truth
04-14-2005, 10:45 AM
Many of us are in the Biz, I try not to be a company man here. I do get a lot of good info here. One thing that people coming to this site don't seem to understand is that different parts of the country are different. Example Monster is a lot stronger here and getting in bars. RB is really a west coast thing. Rockstar is sold by Coke here and is not a big thing.

Red Sox fan
04-14-2005, 03:13 PM
truth- what part of the country are you in?

The Truth
04-14-2005, 04:14 PM

Fruity Pebbles
04-14-2005, 10:00 PM
Are you sure about that? I'm in Orlando and happen to know, as does AC Nielson, that RB leads by a long shot not only in Edrinks, but surpasses quite a few profound soft drinks in many categories as well.

Do you mean the Southeast a whole? I happen to know that being a Red Bull Rep in FL is considered quite the gift in the CO. The product is very respected throughout the state.

04-14-2005, 10:18 PM
Red bull owns the on premise market. If you want to make money selling to on premise you need to get out of your head any thing about beating red bull.

First off you need to know you have lots of connections in clubs in your area and other areas too if you can.

Second gotta taste and look red bullish.

Third price it a little lower and give then volume discounts.

I know a guy who has all the above. He is not worried about the retail trade. Has friends in PR, so his product is mentioned in new paper and magazine articles. Many of the hottest nightclubs are taking it. He got it in some hot clubs in other cities too.
The guy is not trying to be red bull. He is having fun and making some bucks with his own brand. He and his friends go out to these clubs all the time and treated like VIP’s. He is young single and living it up.

That’s how ya do it. BOYZ.

The Truth
04-15-2005, 06:47 PM
I don't consider Fla to be southeast, but I know it is. I'm not bashing Red Bull, but the Red Bull is not such a big name in the Carolina's.
Red Bull does real well with women(small can).

I would glady take Red Bulls money. Yes I'm just saying there is a lot of market out there. I think you will see even more flavors marketed to different groups. The market is changing, ask Pepsi and Coke.