Who doesn’t need a little recovery right now?
Congress, the President, the media, Wall Street, they’re all talking recovery plans, recovery acts, recovery, recovery, recovery.
In the beverage world, it’s no different. In fact, recovery drinks themselves, those products that can lift you from the depths of a hangover when you most need them, and seemed to be on the rise early last year, are now in need of, yeah, recovery.
What has happened to the category that spawned such creatively named products as Rehab, Resurrect, Alcohol Killer, and Hair of the Dog? Resurrect, if it isn’t dead, is in the ICU with a disabled web site as its parent company focuses on much bigger brand, Vida Tea. Rehab, the entry from Coca-Cola –owned Fuze Beverages, has been keeping a very low profile, although it is due for a re-launch in April. Other companies, like Mister Re or Springbak, have apparently passed the point of viability.
What’s the problem here? According to marketers, recovery drinks haven’t hit their stride for a pair of reasons: the big issue, they say, is a lack of consumer education; the rest of the problem lies with the beverage market in general, where it’s hard to establish a category unless it builds toward critical mass.
There are people out there who are trying; Function’s Urban Detox continues to be that beverage company’s best-recognized SKU. And upstart brand Code Blue seems to be taking on the energetic newcomer mantle once worn by Rehab or Resurrect.
Still, it’s a long, hard slog, particularly for a brand that is trying to establish itself as much on-premise as it is off-premise. With the economy in need of (you get the point) consumers are going out less and even drinking less when they do hit the bars.
While that presents a headwind for Code Blue, co-founder Jeff Frumin is more concerned about getting consumers to understand what the product can do.
“For this whole category, education is the key,” said the energetic native of Dothan, Alabama. “If you look back at the energy drink category, Red Bull explained it really well, and it’s something that we need to learn to do ourselves.”
The company’s strategy has been to try to educate its retailers across many channels – bartenders on-premise, store managers and even trainers at the gym (Code Blue, with a healthy dose of electrolytes, also bills itself as an exercise recovery product).
“It’s up to us to tell them what Code Blue is, and how it’s different,” Frumin says. “What’s working for us the best right now is giving it to people and telling them to try it. Word of mouth is working pretty well in New York.”
Getting recovery out to the people is also something that’s being attempted over at G-Tox, a nascent brand in Colorado that has been aggressively test marketing – with a twist. The company is requesting that consumers text them a response about the product, to help them better develop its image and feel.
“We’re tracking our surveys and looking at our responses,” said G-Tox CEO Loretta Zapp. “We’re really learning how we get the message across.”
The message needs to educate consumers, she says.
“It’s got to state clearly ‘you’ll feel better in the morning.’”
Part of their strategy involves bringing in bloggers and social networks like Facebook. With enough word of e-mouth about the product’s efficacy, she says, it’ll start to catch on.
Rehab seemed ready to catch on at this time last year, but it suffered from a lack of attention from its owners and the notion that it was too high in calories. However, the product will be back on the market soon enough, says Fuze spokeswoman Carli McKinney.
And, as the official drink of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Rehab will be uniquely poised to hit its intended audience. Not bad for a targeted stimulus plan.BRAND NEWS
Halo Labs LLC., the creator of Code Blue Recovery Drink, has announced that Duane Reade will carry Code Blue throughout ts New York City locations. Code Blue is a complete recovery drink, designed by beverage scientists to revive your body. Code ?Blue will support the brand through in-?store promotions and a New York-focused marketing campaign that will utilize ?co-branded materials.
G-Tox, a 4 oz. hangover shot that relies on Glucarate, a patented ingredient for Phase-II liver detoxification, is being test-marketed in San Diego, Boulder, and Austin. G-Tox is actively seeking new investors and partners.
Fuze Beverages, owned by the Coca-Cola Co., Inc., is re-launching Rehab on April 1 with the goal of marketing a less caloric hangover-easing beverage that still tastes good. The new product will have 25 calories per 12 oz. can and will be the official drink of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Alcohol Killer is currently being distributed in Northeastern Ohio in restaurants, beverage stores, sports clubs, bars and retail chains (Heinens, Beuhlers and ACME Stores). It is also distributed in Southern California, Western Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and Florida. In January 2009, Alcohol Killer was introduced into the Nevada marketplace with distribution at several casinos and retail locations. As of February 2009 Alcohol Killer is also available for retail sale on Amazon.com.
Function’s Urban Detox can now be found in Duane Reade stores in New York City. Urban Detox works to cleanse the lungs and sinuses of airborne particulate pollution and fight hangover physiology. Urban Detox is available in Citrus Prickly Pear and Goji Berry, and can be found in Whole Foods Markets and Target stores across the country.