Red Bull Discontinues Production of Cola and Energy Shot

Red Bull North America has discontinued production of its energy shot and cola. Amidst a flurry of rumors last week, the move was not entirely unexpected, though Red Bull’s decision to pull the plug on two highly touted products is likely to surprise many within the beverage industry.

Red Bull will “sell through existing inventories of Red Bull Cola and Red Bull Energy Shot, but not proceed with additional production,” and refocus efforts on growth of its core brand within the rapidly expanding energy drink category, the company said in a statement e-mailed to BevNET.

Since its debut in 2008, Red Bull Cola has struggled to excite consumers and retailers in part due to its unique flavor profile and some controversy regarding the company’s use of coca leaves in the beverage. However, it may be the cola’s premium price point that has been its biggest impediment to success. A 12 oz. can of Red Bull Cola sells for around $1.50 in comparison to $1.00 or less for a similarly sized Coke or Pepsi product.

Red Bull’s foray into energy shots had an even shorter existence, arriving with great fanfare in the summer of 2009, though never living up to the potential of Red Bull’s brand name and unable to effectively challenge energy shot leader, 5-Hour Energy.

Nevertheless, with a nearly 40 percent share of the energy drink category – pegged by Mintel to grow to nearly to $8 billion by 2015 – Red Bull noted that the company has “ambitious plans for growth and is well-positioned to continue the momentum that has led to the brand’s dominance of dollar share within the category.”