At a glance, it looks like Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS) lost its fizz today. But when you dig a little deeper, I think it's pretty clear that you finally have a buy-in opportunity after months of high-flying expectations.

First, the bad news: Hansen's net sales of Monster Energy drinks and other beverages fell 2.5% year over year, to $238 million in the first quarter. Earnings shrank 20%, to $32.6 million, or $0.35 per share. So profit was down some 22% year over year. Shock! Horror! The stock was off more than 17% intraday!

Here's the good news
Today's sell-off is a predictable overreaction to a much-needed reality check. This is actually a great time to pick up Hansen shares, because there is nothing wrong with the actual business.

Three factors conspired to inflate Hansen's sales in previous quarters:

  • The full-scale transition to distribution partner Coca-Cola Enterprises (NYSE: CCE), part of which will soon belong to Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) itself, led some retailers to order more Monster drinks than they otherwise would, because they're stocking their stores with this product for the first time.
  • Hansen fueled that trend with a newly introduced per-case rebate program that also increased fourth-quarter orders at the expense of first-quarter ones.
  • And the company transitioned to an enterprise planning system from SAP that should eventually make the growing machine run more smoothly and efficiently -- but some customers wanted to stock up on inventory before that implementation just in case there'd be service interruptions.

Oh, but that's a deceptive perspective.

From a different angle ...
If you switch to a retail view, like the monthly energy drink reports from Nielsen, it's a different story. Yes, this is the good news.

Regardless of when Hansen shipped its drinks to retailers, the brand is growing its sales to the customer at the end of the chain. Swiss giant Red Bull and Hansen are running away with this energy drink market nearly everywhere, leaving pretenders to the throne like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) eating their dust. Together, the two leaders controlled about 60% of energy drinks in the gas and convenience store market. In terms of quarterly sales, the overall market is estimated at $1.3 billion.

With that trifecta of abnormal sales drivers out of the way and the all-important summer season coming up, it's up to Hansen to show us what it's made of. The company is opening new sales channels across the globe in places like Germany, Brazil, and Norway. Guitar god Slash from Guns N' Roses has signed on for a summer promotion of the Monster brand, and that troublesome enterprise planning system should start paying efficiency dividends -- it helps that primary distribution partner Coca-Cola Enterprises has used the same system since 2004.

What's Hansen's secret sauce?
So I take today's monster drop sitting down. Hansen is profitable enough to survive a couple of short-lived storms like this one, and the company has a squeaky-clean, debt-free balance sheet. Compare and contrast Hansen with fellow fizz-slinger Jones Soda (Nasdaq: JSDA), which tried to grow too fast and now trades 97% below its three-year highs. That was a distressed business model that couldn't handle distribution setbacks and a global financial crisis.

Despite the soda-based similarities to Jones, Hansen's approach is closer to the careful and fiscally responsible growth you see in Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD), which goes a long way toward explaining how both Hansen and B-Dub have been beating the competition and the market throughout the wild swings of the last few years. You need a solid financial platform in order to remain standing after a storm, and this duo has managed to fund growth without taking on debt.

If I had money on the sidelines, this would be a tempting time to buy some more of a proven growth phantom -- with huge sales territories still left to conquer. Growth investing can be a bumpy road, especially when you're dealing with a retail-dependent stock like Hansen, where consumer sales don't always match up with what you see in quarterly reports.

Are you a buyer or a seller of Hansen stock today? Either way, tell me why in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Coca-Cola, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Hansen Natural, but no other companies discussed here. Hansen Natural is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Coca-Cola is an Inside Value recommendation. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are Income Investorrecommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a roll your diagonal call position on PepsiCo. The Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.