It stands to reason that, for most companies, managing explosive growth is viewed as one of those “good kind of problems.” And in the case of Hiball, rocketing sales of its organic energy drinks and waters is certainly a welcome development, albeit one that will require a dramatic leap in staffing needs.
For the past eight years, the company has operated as a two-man team comprised of brand founder Todd Berardi and director of sales Dan Craytor. Amid booming sales and new distribution of Hiball, however, Berardi will look to quadruple his staff to eight, filling out a new sales force that will enhance and bolster the brand’s presence in a variety of retail channels as well as regionally along the East Coast, California, Texas and the Midwest.
“We’re doing great in natural, but eventually here we need to figure out the DSD model, we need to figure out the foodservice piece with our new 8.4 oz. [cans],” Berardi said in a recent interview with BevNET. “The club channel, the mass channel, the convenience channel — there’s just a lot that we’re not even scratching the surface on yet.”
Berardi expressed enthusiasm about early reception to the new package — which debuted earlier this year at Natural Products Expo West — stating that Hiball has already received a few retail authorizations for the 8.4 oz. can. He also noted that the smaller-sized line is “great for foodservice” and has been well-received on corporate campuses, including Salesforce, where the products are currently stocked in company coolers and Facebook, which will have the cans beginning in June.
Next month, Hiball will launch a new 4-pack of its 8.4 oz. cans at Whole Foods, where the multi-pack will be sold exclusively for 90 days. Berardi described the 4-pack as an “enormous incremental opportunity” at the natural grocer and beyond.
“There’s a lot of business that really likes the smaller size and lower price point, places that we obviously couldn’t touch with our 16 oz. can, especially with these corporate campuses that like to stoke their employees out with free product,” he said. “It’s hard to be giving out $3 a can, at will.”
In this video, filmed at the recently held BevNET Live Summer ‘14, Berardi discusses much more about the decision to expand Hiball’s staff, how the company plans to take advantage of shrinking shelf space for CSDs and his view on profit margin for entrepreneurial beverage brands.