The brand is aiming for natural and specialty stores, and has added its first-ever table at an industry show, Natural Products Expo East, next week in Baltimore.
“It’s a cross-functional super drink,” said co-founder Jeffrey Frumin. According to Frumin, who co-founded the three year-old brand, with his brother Steven, and friend Michael Sachs, the brand message has migrated from straight recovery toward more of a post-exertion message — although the product’s usefulness as a morning-after pain reliever is still plain as the evil sunlight streaming through the window.
“We’re taking the Code Blue name beyond hangover,” he said. “We have ideas that we hope will help us build out the franchise name.”
In terms of formulation and packaging, major changes are in place. The brand is now stevia-sweetened (instead of agave) and comes in four flavors: Strawberry Melon, Meyer Lemon, Blueberry Pomegranate and Peach Mandarin. Additionally, it has migrated from a carbonated product in a can to a flat product in 12 oz. PET bottles.
“Staying in the can, looking like an energy drink, it was hard for people to get what you are,” Jeffrey Frumin said, adding that the past couple of years had been times when they learned a great deal about the business.
The brothers have also deepened their bench, bringing on beverage and natural foods veteran Eric Schnell as an investor and brand advisor. (Schnell and Steven Frumin were actually in the same fraternity at Northeastern University, and both worked in the nightclub promotion business in Boston while in college). With Schnell on board, the brothers will be actively steering the product towards Whole Foods and other natural and specialty accounts.
The brand’s ingredients have been stretched towards athletic functionality as well, with the addition of Ginkgo Biloba and sea salt. While the brand’s key hangover relieving property comes from glutamine, Code Blue has ended its vendor relationship with the branded glutamine form Sustamine.