Angry wholesalers report Red Bull is demanding price increases of up to 11% this month - despite having failed to meet demand in recent months.
The price rise - which will increase the typical retail price by 10p to £1.30 for a 250ml can - was “not warranted”, according to one wholesaler.
“We are trying really hard to resist this price increase, but I’m not sure what can be done,” said another.
A cash & carry operator added: “They feel they can get away with it - Red Bull is flying off the shelves.”
Some wholesalers said they had been assured by Red Bull that the price hikes, which vary from customer to customer, were being brought in “across the industry”, but Red Bull refused to confirm this.
Negotiations were already heated, they said, claiming that Red Bull had not been supplying enough of its product to fulfil orders in recent months.
The price rises have surprised industry insiders because the energy drinks market, while in strong growth, is increasingly competitive. Brands such as Rockstar and Relentless have stolen significant market share from Red Bull and own-label brands such as Booker’s Euroshopper Energy Drink and Landmark’s LSV retail at just 35p for a 250ml can.
One wholesaler said he had been told by Red Bull staff it was considering opening a factory in the UK to allow it to increase production. The product is currently made in Austria and Switzerland.