The Coca-Cola Co. has confirmed that, just one and a half years after its introduction in North America and millions of dollars in brand-specific ad spending, it is discontinuing its cola-flavored energy drink in the U.S. and Canada, Beverage Digest reports.
First rolling out on domestic shelves in January 2020, Coca-Cola Energy—which had already been available in two dozen international markets since its wide launch the previous year—had the hard luck of trying to make inroads with customers just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning and Americans were buying up familiar “essential” products en masse.
That set a vicious cycle in motion for the product, which came in regular and zero-calorie versions, as well as a cherry flavor that was exclusive to the U.S. market. With consumers focused on other beverages, retailers canceled orders for Coca-Cola Energy or reconfigured stores to put the top-selling essentials front and center. The early drop-off in convenience store traffic, which then accounted for 70% of energy drink sales in the U.S., dealt another blow to the product’s chances of survival.
“As we emerge stronger from the pandemic, our strategy is focused on scaling big bets across a streamlined portfolio and experimenting in an intelligent and disciplined manner,” said Coca-Cola in a statement, adding that “an important component to this strategy is the consistent and constant evaluation of what’s performing and what’s not. ”