Beverage industry veteran Jason Camillos has left First Beverage Ventures to join BA Sports Nutrition, LLC, makers of BodyArmor, as Vice President of Strategy and Planning.
The move serves a reunion for Camillos and BodyArmor co-founder Mike Repole. They worked closely together for five years at vitaminwater, where Camillos was VP of Corporate Development and Repole was President and co-founder.
“I’m here to help the guys get to the next level,” Camillos told BevNET about the move. “The brand is in a great place and performing really well, and with that things are starting to move a lot faster.”
Camillos had served as Managing Director at First Beverage Ventures, the private equity division of First Beverage Group, since 2013. In that position, he worked with Nantucket Nectars founder Tom First, who also departed the investment firm earlier this year. Camillos had also worked with First at Nantucket Nectars.
Repole noted their familiarity as a key reason for hiring Camillos.
“There’s nobody better in the industry at being very strategic,” said Repole, calling Camillos an “integral part of vitaminwater’s success.” “You need someone who has a really good macro view of the business. We need to be ahead of the game. He will make sure we are not missing anything.”
BodyArmor, a coconut-water infused sports drink that includes natural electrolytes and vitamins, was launched in 2012 by beverage entrepreneur Lance Collins. Under Repole, it has since positioned itself as a premium, better-for-you alternative sports drink free from artificial ingredients.
The hire comes after Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) invested an additional $6 million in BodyArmor in March, less than a year after acquiring a 11.7 percent stake in the company for $20 million. At the time, Repole told BevNet the funds would go towards new staffing and marketing initiatives.
DPSG’s direct store delivery system controls distribution of BodyArmor in 34 states. Camillos noted the importance of the BodyArmor’s partnership with DPSG for brand presence in retail and distribution.
Despite Gatorade and Powerade’s shared dominance of the sports drink category, BodyArmor has exhibited strong growth. Repole told BevNet in April he projects total sales for 2016 to reach $150 million.
BodyArmor’s belief in the better-for-you category has also proved well placed. In August, PepsiCo-owned Gatorade launched an organic line extension called G Organic.
“It helps validate the push towards better-for-you sports drinks,” said Camillos of the competition. “The consumer trends are moving towards that, as we’ve seen happen in every other category.”