Pour It On

Dan Mayer is fueled for the energy boom.

"It becomes increasingly difficult to enter a category as it becomes more dominated by larger brands," says Hemphill, who notes that even Anheuser-Busch is distributing "energy beer." "Entering the category now with a me-too type of product that offers no uniqueness or point of difference really doesn't make a lot of sense."

"The future of the energy-drink business is that you're going to get rid of all the trash," says Troy Widgery, president of Go Fast Sports and Beverage, a Denver-based company whose energy drink Mayer ranks in his personal top three. "It's like the microbrew industry ten, fifteen years ago. There was this boom with brands everywhere, but soon it consolidated and all the sort of strange brands disappeared and the strong ones remained."

Although his lips are sealed on the specifics of the drink he plans to create, Mayer is confident that it will work. He's already got a pretty clear picture of the flavor of the drink, as well as its price, packaging, marketing and even the best places to distribute it. And if his creation flops, he's got plenty to keep him busy.

Rich Barry
Department of energy: Dan Mayer displays his can-do 
Tony Gallagher
Department of energy: Dan Mayer displays his can-do spirit.

"Besides," Mayer says, dutifully cringing through another sip of the cranberry-flavored drink that will keep him awake for far longer than he would like to be, "I'm really just along for the ride."

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