- The Washington Times
Monday, March 16, 2020


Proving greatness runs in families, Russ Weiner, the son of famed radio voice Michael Savage, has just turned his beverage company, Rockstar Energy Drinks, into a $3.2 billion payout from PepsiCo.

That it comes as America is stumbling a bit on coronavirus-related economic blues only underscores what even Weiner acknowledged during recent televised interviews — “The American dream is alive.”

Yes indeed.

“Well talk about baptism by fire,” began Fox Business host David Ansman, at the start of his segment with Weiner. “A blockbuster beverage deal made right in the middle of a major market slide.”

The images couldn’t be clearer. The choices of economies and politics couldn’t be starker. Against a backdrop of unaccustomed emptied American grocery shelves and Walmart and Amazon sold-out signs and quarantining communities, there comes a new billionaire bringing an age-old message about the greatness of this country, and the opportunities this land affords for those who want to take advantage. And it’s a message that goes like this: Free markets work.

Take a memo, Millennials. 

Coronavirus or not — America still beats Venezuela. And Cuba. And socialism.

Individualism, not collectivism, still serves well.

“In 2000, I was in San Francisco,” Weiner said on Fox, “and this was when Red Bull launched in California. Back then, it was $2 for that small can, and I said to all my friends … ‘Why doesn’t someone come out with a larger size, I don’t get it, it’s so easy. No one’s making a bigger size.’ “

The idea brewed.

His boss at the vodka company where he worked didn’t want to pursue it.

So Weiner went ahead with it.

Weiner, with no money to invest, went ahead with it, anyway.

“So I mortgaged my condo with $50,000, that’s pretty much all I had,” Weiner said. “I made a small batch, put it out in the market, and it worked because it was twice the size for the same price, called Rockstar.”

Party like a Rockstar — that was the tag.

But naysayers abounded.

“No one thought it would work,” Weiner said. “Everyone thought I was crazy.”

Fast-forward to today — fast-forward through the years and years of hard work and commitment, to today.

Rockstar sold to Pepsi for $3.85 billion — and Weiner, because he held 85% of the company, gets to take home $3.2 billion. His mother, meanwhile, owned the other 15%.

“I’m very blessed,” Weiner said. “I’m the happiest guy in the world … I hope that this gives inspiration to the next generation to go out there and try new ideas.”

Can’t keep a good American down.

“I’m the grandson of immigrants,” he said. And the son of radio great Michael Savage.

“I’ll give you one story of Michael,” Weiner said. “When I was a young kid, he took me to the zoo and put me in front of the lions in the lion cage and let the lions roar at me so I would never be afraid of anyone yelling at me in life. Thank you, Dad.”

Millennials — socialism-loving millennials — take a memo.

Coronavirus-fearing panicky people — take note. Take heart. Take inspiration.

“Great country,” Weiner said. “America’s the best.”

And America always will be the best. So long as free markets here run free, so long as socialism is kept in the dark corners, so long as individual creativity and ambition soar high — America will always and forever be the best.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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