Yesterday, Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog featured Bai Brands founder and CEO Ben Weiss in her “Beverage Buzz” conference call series. Now five years into Bai, Weiss is reporting that the company is approaching $50 million in sales and fully expects to reach that number before the calendar year is up. A year ago, Bai Brands inked a major distribution agreement with Dr Pepper Snapple Group and now the low-calorie enhanced-water company is making its foray into the carbonated segment of the market with Bai Bubbles. According to Weiss, it’s still only the beginning.
When asked about the decision to launch Bai Bubbles, Weiss pointed to a void in the market. “If you wanted something that was low-calorie, all natural, and tastes great, that product doesn’t exist in effervescence. I felt the market needed our innovation.” The new line, which currently comes in seven flavors, has already begun distribution in New York and has a national roll-out scheduled for the first quarter of next year.
As to whether he would consider eventually selling the company to Dr Pepper Snapple Group or any other potential suitors, Weiss left the door open while remaining focused on the plan ahead. “If you look at our ACV, we’ve left so much meat on that bone. There’s so much to do,” he responded. “I’m not going to rule out any of those, but we’re really heads down planning for 2015, which is really going to be the big year for Bai.”
In addition to the roll-out of Bai Bubbles, those 2015 plans will likely include the introduction of new flavors and perhaps even some additional extensions of the brand. “They’re in the pipeline and ready to be introduced. It’s just a matter of timing,” he explained. “We’ll be impatient with innovation but we’ll always be very methodical, disciplined and patient in how we bring it to market. I’m not trying to beat someone else to the punch,” he said.