In years past, it might have been an odd site to see: Americans piled into homes, bars, and offices across the country, arm in arm, leaping in unity and screeching in delight as a small white ball gently rolled between two posts and into the back of a net. But the scene was an an often and familiar one when World Cup 2010 took hold of the U.S. and gave most of the country a small taste of the fanaticism for soccer that grips the rest of the world every day. Today, soccer has even edged closer to the kind of mainstream acceptance that – in the U.S. — has eluded the sport for so many decades. Hoping to tap into the growing interest and enthusiasm is Golazo, a line of all-natural energy and sports drinks targeted at the soccer community.
Founded in 2010, Golazo – which means “super goal” in Spanish – was launched by Richard Tait, a longtime entrepreneur who co-created the board game Cranium. After selling Cranium to Hasbro for nearly $80 million dollars and a short consulting stint at Starbucks, Tait sets his sights on the beverage business. A soccer player and enthusiast himself, Tait reportedly came up with the idea for Golazo after looking out his office window and seeing streaming hordes of fans pour into a stadium to watch a soccer match.
The brand initially launched with a single SKU energy drink in sports stadiums and events in the Seattle area. Since then, the brand has expanded into four flavors for its energy drink line and recently debuted its coconut water-infused sports line at the 2012 Expo West show. Tait said the new line enabled the brand to reach out to a younger consumer base. Both lines are distributed throughout the Seattle market and in parts of Eastern Washington in Quality Food Centers, Whole Foods Market and Fiesta Foods, a Washington-based grocery chain that specializes in the Hispanic market.
Armed with a $3.7 million round of funding that included a number of high profile investors including Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the owner of the Inter Milan Football Club in Italy and the head of Spain’s largest restaurant chain, Tait is aiming for new distribution in Southern California and noted that the company is trying to be “super methodical” in approaching new markets, with a strategy based on three areas of focus: soccer, the Latino community, and the natural beverage channel.
In this interview filmed at BevNET headquarters in Watertown, MA, Tait speaks with BevNET CEO John Craven about Golazo and the future of the brand, including how the company plans to approach consumers with affinity for the “soccer lifestyle.” Tait also discusses the notion that the brand is ahead of the curve with the growing interest and enthusiasm for soccer in the U.S., and the potential for Golazo to become a mainstream brand.