Valley energy drink losing business because of name

EMBED </>More News Videos

The term "51-50" is officially used by law enforcement agencies and first responders. It allows them to confine a mentally ill person that may be a danger to themselves or others. (KFSN)

A local energy drink company will no longer be sold at Save Mart locations because of the brand's name.

Livingston-based company 51Fifty Enterprises is facing scrutiny from protestors who argue the name is offensive. The term "51-50" is officially used by law enforcement agencies and first responders. It allows them to confine a mentally ill person that may be a danger to themselves or others.

It's because of that definition a North Valley company is facing backlash.

Like the puzzle pieces on his first race car 51 Fifty Enterprises CEO Carlos Vieira says the name 51Fifty just fits.

"A reminder to never quit and chase your dreams," Vieira said.

The now troubled name of 51 Fifty Enterprises from that very car. Vieira says he picked the number 51 when he started racing. His friends called him crazy for starting the hobby late in life and so the brand was born.

"Sometimes you got to not be scared about what people are going to think or to fail," Vieira said. "It's very important to believe in something and tell yourself you're going to do it and go after it."

The racing team would soon become an advocate for autism research. Since 2007, Vieira says they've raised $800,000 for the cause, and to keep paying the bills on and off the racetrack they created an energy drink company.

"A percentage of every can that gets sold gets donated," Vieira said. "So, it's just another way for us to raise money and awareness for our program."

But now the 51Fifty brand is under scrutiny. Their biggest big box retailer, Save Mart, is pulling all the product off its shelves.

It's a movement started by a Fresno woman with a mental illness who says, in a change.org petition, that she feels deeply disrespected and mocked by the name.

Eve Hinson writes: "While the effort to help children with autism is noble, it is detracted by associating the image with the slang definition to California's police code 51-50."

Since Hinson started the petition 10 months ago it's garnered 75 supporters. Then just a few days ago Save Mart made the decision to pull the product.

Save Mart spokesperson Nannette Miranda told us, "as a Central Valley business, it's important to us that we source local products. 51Fifty energy drink was popular among Save Mart shoppers; however, our sale of the product was never intended to diminish the seriousness of mental illness. We have made the decision to discontinue this product in our stores."

"We're a brand about doing good," Vieira said. "And we hope they realize that that's the truth and that they keep us on the shelves."
Related Topics:
newsenergymerced countyLivingston
(Copyright ©2016 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments