Quash Seltzer said PepsiCo is causing “incalculable and irreparable harm” to the company’s efforts to establish a distribution network for its soon-to-be-sold Mixx hard seltzer, the upstart said in a court filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Quash has “common ownership” with Vital Pharmaceuticals, the owner of Bang Energy.
In its Jan. 25 filing seeking a court order to bar PepsiCo from communicating with prospective wholesale distributors on account of Mixx, Quash said PepsiCo has had a “chilling effect on Quash’s ability to execute its business strategy for Mixx” by inaccurately claiming it had distribution rights, which scared off prospective distributors. “As Pepsi continues its tortious actions and until this court enters an order preliminarily enjoining it, Quash has incurred, and will continue to incur, substantial economic harm that very well could be in the billions of dollars and is otherwise incurring irreparable damage to its goodwill and reputation.” PepsiCo did not respond to a request for comment.
Quash said PepsiCo’s actions are a response “to gain leverage in the pending legal disputes between PepsiCo and VPX regarding the Bang energy drinks.” PepsiCo and Bang signed an exclusive distribution deal last March, but the energy drink company gave notice on Oct. 23 it was ending the deal, “citing multiple issues and concerns regarding PepsiCo’s performance.” An emergency arbitrator ruled in December that PepsiCo remains the exclusive distributor of Bang Energy drinks until October 2023, and PepsiCo has a pending motion to dismiss a federal court case Bang owner Vital Pharmaceuticals brought against the company.