Monster in the Morning

 monster logoMonster Energy has filed a trademark for the name “Ultra Sunrise,” a product that will likely be positioned to compete for morning consumption with Mountain Dew Kickstart, a $150 million brand, according to a report by analyst Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities. The report notes that the company will also release “Monster Unleaded”, a caffeine-free drink, and could release lower- or no-caffeine versions of its core product.

“We believe [Monster’s] new innovation could expand its consumer set with limited cannibalization through increased trial, driving new day-part consumption occasions and ultimately increase household penetration,” Herzog writes.

On July 21, Monster filed for U.S. trademark registration for Ultra Sunrise, which leads one convenience store retailer surveyed by Wells Fargo to believe that the company “is moving toward a Monster [carbonated soft drink (CSD)] aimed at Mountain Dew.”

Another surveyed retailer said that if Sunrise “tastes as good as Mountain Dew or Mountain Dew Kickstart, it will trade the much younger demographic to Monster and it definitely will increase household penetration.”

The Unleaded beverages could be thought of as “innovation that matches what consumers want,” said a surveyed retailer. By offering a product with low or no caffeine content, while still using the core product’s blend of taurine, glucuronolactone and guarana, Monster could appeal to new consumers for different consumption occasions, Herzog writes.

“This new product offering could open up a new category,” said a surveyed retailer, “since many consumers like the taste and flavor of energy but don’t like the effect it has on them short and long-term.”

Herzog writes that she expects these products to roll out in test markets in the next few quarters of 2014, and will be followed with a national launch in either Q4 2014 or the first half of 2015.

With both releases, Monster seems to be parlaying the rapid success of its Ultra line, which features three SKUs of energy drinks that feature less sweetness, a lighter taste and zero calories and sugar. Aside from its potential to diversify consumption occasions, the Ultra Sunrise release could also be viewed as Monster’s growing interest in challenging the CSD market and scooping the category’s migratory consumers.

By press time, Monster could not be reached for comment.