Simply put, the rapid emergence of Sparking ICE on the national stage has been nothing short of extraordinary. After 25 years as a regional brand, Talking Rain’s line of zero-calorie, carbonated drinks has become — by far — the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverage brand in the country.
According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, sales of Sparkling ICE approached $180 million for the 52 week period ending on April 21, 2013. This from a brand that did $43 million in sales for a similar period one year prior, a time at which sales of Sparkling ICE were already up a mind-boggling 2,000 percent.
Is it possible for the brand to sustain its stratospheric rise? Kevin Klock, the CEO of Talking Rain, has no doubt. In an interview at BevNET Live Summer ’13, Klock indicated that present sales of Sparkling ICE were just the tip of the iceberg. According to Klock, Sparkling ICE recently passed Vitaminwater as the number one selling single-serve beverage in terms of multi-channel sales, and estimated that the brand would reach the $400 million mark by the end of the year.
Asked if and when the brand could eclipse $1 billion in annual sales, Klock didn’t hesitate.
“2018,” Klock said pointedly. “I think some structural things would need to need to happen between now and then. But if you use the element of ACV [All Commodity Volume] points, and when we look at some comparable brands for ACV, there’s no reason why we can’t hit a billion dollars in the next five years.”
So what’s the secret to Talking Rain’s success with the brand? How is the company achieving such monumental success in the carbonated soft drinks category that, by all signs, appears to be on the decline? In a word: refreshment.
“The number one element of it – it’s refreshing,” Klock said. “And there’s a large segment of the population that’s been seeking out refreshment. It’s been a long time since there’s been a product that really hit the elements of refreshment, versus something maybe that is a little more complex that you have to explain to the consumer.”
Watch this video as Klock discusses much more about Sparkling ICE, including the recent launch of two new production facilities in the Southeast and Midwest, the company’s first foray into traditional advertising, and new distribution partnerships that allow Talking Rain to be within one to two days reach of every customer in the U.S. Finally, get Klock’s take on why he isn’t expecting acquisition overtures from the big three soda giants anytime soon.