It only rolled out a few months ago, but with experienced hands behind the wheel, Aloe Gloe is making an impression on its retail neighborhood.
The “aloe water” brand, which was started by L.A. Libations partners Danny Stepper, Pat Bolden and Dino Sarti, has added several significant new retailers in recent weeks, including placements in stores belonging to important national chains like Target and Costco. Meanwhile, branding initiatives have pushed its Facebook “likes” close to 36,000 since its launch in October.
As with most brands that the L.A. Libations crew works with, the Aloe Gloe footprint is being expanded through a carefully studied approach to market and customer segmentation, with the intent of getting as many “mainstream strategic wins” as possible inside a customer instead of simply landing the account in its entirety.
“We could go bigger, we could go faster, but we are trying to stay disciplined and strategic with right retailers,” Stepper said.
To that end, the company has been able to gradually increase its Costco presence from four stores to 79. It recently received approval for California supermarket chain Ralph’s, but will only make it available in that chain’s 50 or so “Fresh Fare” stores. Similarly, the brand will be going into about 250 Target stores that have strong pull with health and wellness-oriented consumers. Additionally, although it is already in Bristol Farms, Aloe Gloe will be in more than 600 Safeways and 300 Albertsons on the West Coast and more than 100 Fresh Markets on the East Coast, as well as 180 California based gourmet/convenience hybrids Fresh and Easy.
The founders behind the brand are trying hard to position Aloe Gloe as an enhanced water rather than an aloe vera juice, stressing its lower calorie profile (35 calories per bottle, helped by Stevia as a sweetener vs. upwards of 200 calories per bottle for a sugar-sweetened aloe vera juice drink) and referring to it repeatedly as an aloe water. They believe that, even as awareness of aloe has increased among consumers, the benefits are outweighed by the calorie costs that come with most of the products on the market. To truly break out, they say, consumers need to believe in aloe as an enhanced water, where the lighter profile means less sugar.
“We believe that our brand is in the best position to break out, because others are so heavily sugared,” Stepper said. “People know about the benefits of aloe. Its a 2000 year old health and wellness trend, There are five references in the Bible to aloe vera – but it’s a different proposition when it’s got 46 grams of sugar.”