Saturday, May 12, 2012

Monster Energy sold in Japan

-Finally!
2012-05-09 13.28.44The energy drink industry is pretty big in Japan. Unlike where I come from in America, energy drinks are generally sold in small gulp sized aluminum cans or brown glass phials/bottles here. All energy drinks including Japanese energy drinks generally use similar main ingredients like Taurine and Ginseng. The only big difference between east and west is how large the serving container is and how much sweetener has been added.
Over the years, the western style energy drink market has been slowly cracking away at with Red Bull seeming to hold the biggest brand recognition. With few exceptions, I’ve been able to find Red Bull sold in most convenience stores across Japan but it doesn’t come cheap. Averaging over 250 yen for its iconic sized small and slender can, Red Bull costs nearly as much as a tall can of beer! Japanese energy drinks on the other hand can range anywhere from a low bargain price of 40 yen all the way up to near 200 yen for the fancy new brands that also remedy hangovers.
While I enjoy having a Red Bull from time to time,  it is not my energy drink of choice. My number one spot is a dead heat between Monster Energy and Rockstar. Depending on how I feel will decide which one I buy. But or the past five years I’ve been in Japan, I’ve never come across a Monster Energy. I've seen and bought a Rockstar energy drinks but never a Monster. I've always hoped Monster would bring their brand to Japan and it looks like they finally have.

I finally came across an unusually small can of Monster at my local Family-Mart convenience store going for 200 yen even. While the price was a bit high for something I’m used to getting at nearly twice the size and half the price, I couldn't resist. Usually I'd think it over for being nearly the same price as a large can of beer, but since its the first time I've ever encountered it in Japan I had to have it now.

The convenience store I bought it at was selling only the standard flavor of Monster but that's totally cool with me as the others aren't that great to me.  The can is about as slender as a Red Bull but about 20 percent taller. Hooray for more volume! The logo and can’s design are about as I remember it being on its large sized American cans. As for taste, it seems to be what my taste buds remember. The Japanese Monster (Godzilla? More like baby Godzilla) has an overly sweet initial taste followed up with a long lingering tartness.
I may be the last person in Japan to find it but Monster may have been available in larger, much more urban areas of Japan than where I live but its new to me. Living out in central land-locked Japan takes away a lot of creature comforts like familiar non-Japanese brands and awesome places like Costco/Ikea. Maybe my area is starting to get cooler? Probably not, but at least I can buy a can of Monster whenever I want... well as long as the convenience stores feel its profitable to keep in stock...

Edit- It appears 2 flavors of Monster are sold in Japan currently according to Monster’s Japanese website. Neat.  

Edit 2- Max-Valu (at least the ones in my area) seem to sell Monster as well. Double neat.

Edit 3- I came across Monster at 7-Eleven and Tsuruha Drug Stores as well. It looks like Monster is trying hard to get a foothold. I hope they succeed.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Scott,

    Where did you find RockStar in Japan??? I canvassed Tokyo and found NONE. Checked seemingly every vending machine on the streets. Zero. Help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may have been a short run around the time this post was made 3 years back. Products like this come and go constantly from store shelves

      All I find are monster and red bull now. I can't remember the last time I found one in a convenience store. You may be out of luck.

      Delete
  2. Hey Scott,

    Where did you find RockStar in Japan??? I canvassed Tokyo and found NONE. Checked seemingly every vending machine on the streets. Zero. Help!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Scott,

    Where did you find RockStar in Japan??? I canvassed Tokyo and found NONE. Checked seemingly every vending machine on the streets. Zero. Help!

    ReplyDelete