With an established foothold at natural and conventional grocery retailers, healthy energy drink maker Hiball has set its sights on expanding distribution in convenience and drug stores. The company recently landed a major deal with CVS, which added six Hiball SKUs to approximately 500 of its locations across the country, and is wading faster and further into the C-store channel.
At last week’s National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) 2016 show, BevNET spoke with Hiball vice president of business development Dan Craytor, who discussed the company’s push into new retail channels.
“It’s opening up a lot of new opportunities... to meet customers in a different place,” Craytor said. “We’ve been been building the brand in the natural foods channel -- that’s kind of the burning core of our brand -- and now it’s starting to spill over.”
Hiball has gradually built a broad portfolio of energy products, one that now includes organic energy drinks, sparkling waters, cold brew coffees and protein-infused drinks; the company also markets a brand of flavored organic and fair trade-certified sparkling juices called Alta Palla. The range of offerings enables Hiball to reach more consumers in more places, Craytor said.
“We’ve always wanted to build an energy platform, where we bring healthy energy into a variety of different circumstances and usage occasions,” Craytor said. “So what that’s done is allow us to go into a retailer and offer that from one vendor and that creates an efficiency that they like to see, especially when you’re doing direct business.”
A multi-channel distribution strategy and platform-focused approach has a elicited a surge a new hires for Hiball, which recently tripled the size of its staff. According to LinkedIn, new employees include former O.N.E. Coconut Water and Coco Libre executive John Slee who joined the company as a vice president last month and T.J. Leenders, who segued from Coco Libre’s Director of Sales - East to the same position at Hiball. Company founder and CEO Todd Berardi declined to comment on recent staff hires.
Watch this video, filmed at Hiball’s booth at NACS 2016, to hear more from Craytor about the company’s approach to selling healthy energy in C-stores (“not everyone’s ready -- you have to be choosy, find the right partner), finding the right product mix for different retail channels, and the development the Alta Palla brand, which will introduce a secondary line of sparkling waters next year.