It turns out the mastermind behind the $3 cough syrup craze 5-Hour Energy is a 58-year-old Indian-born monk who takes a shot of the chalky drink every morning. In the latest issue of Forbes, Clare O'Connor offers the first press interview with Manoj Bhargava, a man who turned a two-ounce elixir of caffeine and vitamins into a beverage giant with $1 billion in retail sales. He's a bit of a boaster, telling O'Connor he's "killing it" and comparing his teenage math skills to Matt Damon's prodigy character in Good Will Hunting. But who can blame him as he's managed to convince a generation of truckers and amateur athletes to guzzle his bad-tasting energy drink? Apparently, some of his company's success is due to litigation:
The reason Bhargava has won is that he plays tough. Sitting in that cemetery are a dozen or so neon copycats with names like 6-Hour Power and 8-Hour Energy. Each has been sued, bullied or kicked off the market by Living Essentials’ lawyers. In front of each are little placards with a skull and crossbones drawn in felt-tip pen. Bhargava points at the gravestone of one of his late competitors and says with a chuckle, “Rest in peace.”
In any event, Bhargava's rags-to-riches story beginning in West Philadelphia in the late '60s is well-worth the full read. The whole Forbes profile is here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.