WESTON, FLA. — The maker of Bang Energy beverages said it has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo, Inc., alleging the Purchase, NY-based company engaged in “gross misconduct” and “failed to meet contractual and joint business plan commitments and requirements” under a distribution agreement announced in April.
Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc., parent company of Bang Energy, gave PepsiCo notice of termination as its exclusive distributor in October, citing concerns regarding PepsiCo’s performance since the partnership began. Jack Owoc, founder and chief executive officer of Bang Energy, said the company “sincerely expected PepsiCo to execute at an even higher level based on their enormous resources and promises.”
In response, PepsiCo issued a statement on Nov. 17, expressing disappointment to receive the notice of termination “without cause, especially given the rapid success we’ve had in significantly expanding the presence and availability of Bang Energy drinks.”
“PepsiCo remains the exclusive distributor of Bang Energy drinks across the US through October 2023,” PepsiCo said. “We will continue to fulfill our obligations under our agreement, which does not include any minimum purchase commitment. Serving our customers remains our top priority, while also defending and enforcing our exclusive rights granted in the agreement.”
Following termination of the deal, Bang Energy alleged in the lawsuit that PepsiCo has since “falsely” represented itself as Bang’s exclusive distributor to independent distributors and retailers and has used intimidation tactics such as threatening lawsuits against “anyone who fails to purchase Bang Energy exclusively from Pepsi.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that PepsiCo “repeatedly and intentionally sabotaged” Bang Energy in the retail market.
“Unfortunately, we were blindsided and bamboozled,” Mr. Owoc said.
PepsiCo has not responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit.