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Hire me, Bang Energy
Let Fingers (mis)manage The Bang-ruptcy. Plus: TikTok Sbagliato (with Prosecco)
TO: Jack Owoc, CEO of Bang Energy
FROM: Dave Infante, editor/publisher of Fingers
CC: Bang Energy & Vital Pharmaceuticals executive boards (jk they don’t exist lol)
SUBJ: The Bang-ruptcy + Jack’s memoir??!?
You’ve had a hell of a few weeks, Jack. Ever since Them Brito Boys at Anheuser-Busch InBev discontinued Shock Top’s Shocktoberfest variety 24-pack, I’ve considered October a curséd month. After the run you’ve had lately, I suspect you may feel the same way. Never you fear, the fearless Fingers editor is here. I’m ready to you provide my formidable crisis management services pro-bono as a small
non-fungible token of gratitude for all the glorious copy you’ve provided for the boozeletter over the years.
As previously stated, I’m also prepared to offer you several tens of dollars to take Bang out of Bang-ruptcy and off your hands. But there I go, getting ahead of myself. Let’s return to the matter at hand: your decidedly not-tight 2022, which has lately taken a turn for the worse.
I know it’s not for lack of effort that things are headed south, Lat SaJack. You finished out September swinging for the fences, by which of course I mean posting wanted poster-style cartoons of PepsiCo’s U.S. and global chief executives to tell your 1.1 million Instagram followers that you’d filed “criminal charges” against them… by which of course you meant “made a complaint to the Florida attorney general’s office that they may or may not pursue.” Semantics aside, you were Jacked Up! Was it wise strategy to provoke rival executives (personally, by name) from a much larger firm to which you currently owe about $115 million in fees stemming from a contract you blew up? Conventional wisdom says “Sorry, you want to do what? Absolutely the fuck not, hand over your phone right now.” But you’ve never been one to follow norms, Jackson Swole, so counterpunch the bastards you did. (Side note: CounterPunch would make for a great Bang flavor. That one is for free, little gift from your pal Dave. Take it and run with it.)
But as the calendar page began to turn, October’s Owoc on The Wild Side hit the skids. A federal judge upheld the $175 million judgment against Bang’s “super creatine” usage, the result of deeply unfavorable arbitration between VPX and Orange Bang—and of course, your old foes at Monster Energy Corporation, who were just de-lighted to team up with that little SoCal juice joint to demonstrate your alleged breach of contract. The same day, a federal jury awarded Monster $293 million in damages, concluding in a difference suit that promoting Bang on the basis of its “super creatine” content was false advertising. Food-science experts in this and other lawsuits (you’ve got a few, Captain Jack) have testified there’s no such thing as “super creatine.” They don’t understand your beautiful mind!
(Deteriorating cognition is no laughing matter, of course, but considering you’ve previously claimed that Bang and super creatine could “reverse mental retardation” and “hel[p] with all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other forms of dementia,” I feel like you’ll appreciate the reference.)
You dismissed the first decision as a “false ruling by a rogue arbitrator with no background in science.” You haven’t said much publicly about the second, which is why I started to get concerned. What do you always say? “If you ain’t Banging, you ain’t hanging.” You’re a born poster, Jack-a-Doodle-Doo. You live to Bang and hang. Do the good posts, @BangEnergy.CEO, I murmured to myself late that night, swishing the phrase “nearly half a billion dollars worth of legal penalties so far” around in my brain like a
fine wine room-temperature Bang Radical Skadattle™. Call this a woke witch hunt. Blame an elite cabal of anti-Florida lizard-people. Inject yourself with more fetal tissue.
Then the Bloomberg profile dropped. I can’t lie to you, Owoc Obama: it wasn’t good. Four reporters led by Anders Melin characterized you as a “mercurial emperor who oscillates between paternal benevolence and erratic ruthlessness.” They say you sued a former employee into bankruptcy for allegedly violating a noncompete. There’s a whole section in there about how you’re “known to fire people public-execution-style” via mass email. You allegedly called your former general council a “cancer” that had to be “excise[d]” from the company because “[t]omfoolery was at an all-time high;” now he’s suing you for libel.
Why didn’t you chat with Bloomberg, Jack Attack? You say wild shit on social media all day, why not do the same with the actual media? Maybe your mind was elsewhere. Maybe you knew that just a few days later, Bang Energy and VPX would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in hopes of rebuilding its distribution network (now that you’ve forsaken Pepsi’s), recouping sliding sales, and regaining momentum lost from summer legal skirmishes with beverage-biz foes (not to mention Universal Music Group and Sony, which are each suing Bang separately.) Was Bang-ruptcy on your mind when Bloomberg approached you? Did you feel cornered?
I don’t blame you. Halloween’s still two weeks away, and this is spooky stuff, Jack the Quipper. Don’t worry: I’m here to help. Just say the word and I’m prepared to fly to your $7.7 million South Florida mansion and get to work. I’ll write press releases, Instagram captions, termination mass-emails that are long on pluck and desperately short on punctuation. Will it help Bang and VPX navigate the Bang-ruptcy? Who knows! I haven’t the faintest clue how Chapter 11 proceedings work. But I’m guessing you may not either, so… what do you have to lose?
I know we’ve had our differences over the years. You refuse to accept my LinkedIn requests; I find it odious that you donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to reelect Donald Trump. But I think we can set all that aside and come to an understanding. Here’s what I understand: in all of consumer packaged goods, there’s only one billionaire executive untethered by a board and shareholders and able to speak their mind with reckless abandon. And that’s you. So I’ll go one step further, Snap Jackle Pop. If we find ourselves working well together—not working out together, because I refuse to let a 61 year-old grandpa bench twice my body weight in front of me—through the Bang-ruptcy, we can start talking about a co-authored memoir. Some potential headlines I just came up with:
Jack to the Future
Monsters at the Gate
The Biggest Bang
Owoc to Remember (only if we publish it after you die)
PepsiCo, More Like PepsiHoe, Amirite?!
The Super Creatine King of South Florida
I don’t know, just spitballing here. My point here, Jackie Chemistry Onassis, is that together, we could go far. I anxiously await your response.
P.S.: I heard you’re filming a documentary that you keep referring to as a “shockumentary.” A) Keep calling it that, it makes you sound cool as hell; and b) I have video production experience. Let’s cut some tape, buddy.
P.P.S.: Don’t make the same mistake White Claw did.
📬 Good post alert
🍾 TikTok sbagliato (with Prosecco)
Thank you to all the Fingers Fam deeply embedded in queer TikTok who sent me the Emma D’Arcy “Negroni… sbagliato… with Prosecco” video this week. And all the reaction TikToks. And the tweets, and the explainers, and the thinkpieces, too. There’s something really interesting going on here, and I’m glad you sent it my way! For those of you who only watch TikToks that have been reposted as Instagram Reels and have no idea why we’re talking about a hot-weather cocktail in the middle of October, let me explain. D’Arcy is a popular actor currently starring on House of The Dragon, the Game of Thrones spin-off that the most annoying people you know keep telling you is “disappointing so far.” They are also nonbinary, and have become something of a heartthrob in the queer community, particularly amongst bisexual fans. Earlier this month, during an interview with costar Olivia Cooke posted on HBO’s TikTok account, D’Arcy said their favorite cocktail was “Negroni… sbagliato… with Prosecco.” Their inflection was somewhat sultry, their awkward pauses were charming, and their redundant syntax (a Negroni sbagliato contains Prosecco by definition) was relatable. That’s all it took for people to lose their minds and get extremely horny on main, to the point that the video and reference have gone very mainstream. At publication, the video has over 13 million views on TikTok alone, and millions more on Twitter and Instagram.
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Horniness is not, strictly speaking, within the editorial remit of this boozeletter. (There are exceptions, of course.) For our purposes, the part of this digital moment that makes it worth tracking is whether D’Arcy’s cocktail preference actually influences offline drinking behavior. There are hundreds of very-viral tweets about how queer and bi drinkers are going to honor D’Arcy by ordering Negroni sbagliato—typically considered a late summer tipple on account of the fizz and the original drink’s tie to the season. Will that actually happen? “Bartenders Are Bracing for a Flood of Negroni Sbagliatos (with Prosecco),” reports The Takeout, but the story itself contains precious little evidence that there’s been any uptick in ordering them just yet. As I’ve written before, the online-to-offline divide is narrower than ever, but it still exists. Whether virality is enough to outstrip seasonality and close the URL/IRL gap in the case of The D’Arcy (which I assume Negroni sbagliatos will heretofore be known) remains to be seen here. Setting myself a calendar reminder to check in with some bartenders in a couple weeks, if no one—Grub Street? VinePair? Dad?—runs it down first.
Fingers’ first-ever zine, The Boozeletter Turns Two…sletter, is available for preorder now! The zine features custom art by Friend of Fingers Brandon Underwood, who also did the design on the custom 2nd-birthday sticker. The pack is $25 including free shipping in the U.S., and includes a zine and two stickers. Every sale helps to underwrite my independent journalism about drinking in America, so please:
(Editor’s note: Fingers Founding Members, as thanks for your generous, above-and-beyond financial contributions to this project, you’ll get this pack for free. You should’ve received a separate email from me with more details on how to claim yours; please reply directly to this one if you didn’t.)
🧾 The Settle-Up
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