Founder Randy Shefshick, a long-time employee of Rockstar Energy Drink who has been the VP of Sales for the Northeast, officially leaves the company later this week to concentrate full-time on his burgeoning flavored, lightly sweetened carbonated water brand.
So far, Something Natural is available in several important supermarket and natural/specialty accounts already, including Whole Foods’ Southern California region, Wegmans, Raley’s, and Harris Teeter.
The brand, which has five flavors and aims for a $1.59 price point, also recently landed distribution through Polar Beverages, the largest independent distribution house in the Northeast.
“It’s very exciting for us,” Shefshick said. “I think if we can re-create the magic of some other brands that have come up through Polar, it would be amazing.”
With a blue-tinted teardrop bottle and a sweet, fruity taste, Something Naturals’ products are highly evocative of an older flavored water brand, Clearly Canadian. The calorie count is much lower, however, relying on a stevia/sugar blend, to drop the count to 30 calories per bottle.
Shefshick knows that even though he’s leaving Rockstar – a company that he said had been very good to him — and the ongoing tussles for shelf space that characterize the energy drink category, he isn’t going to have to stop jockeying for position. In fact, he’s going into what’s arguably an even hotter part of the business, sparkling water.
“It’s super-exciting right now,” Shefshick said. “Clearly, Sparkling Ice is the hottest product on the planet, and they’ve proven there’s a market for flavored sparkling water. We think we’re the natural alternative to that – almost like the Honest Tea of the sparkling water category.”
Of course, there are other companies that have also noted the trend, including Honest Tea’s fellow Coke property Glaceau, which recently launched a re-tooled version of Fruitwater as a carbonated zero-calorie water. Cascade Ice, also based in Washington, has also grown alongside Sparkling Ice.
But knowing that competition exists, Something Natural’s sales are on a nice trajectory thus far: the company sold about $500,000 last year and is on pace to triple that this year, he said, although with new accounts opening up the real test will come as refill orders come in and repeat sales can be measured.
In the meantime, however, Shefshick said he’s excited to have a chance to try to execute behind his own brand.
“Our first year, I really wanted to get it out there and see if there was uptake from retailers, consumers, distributors,” he said. “Now we’re going into it hard core, taking it to the next level and hopefully being a bit smarter in the way we go about it. I’ve been lucky to have had this opportunity.”