Max Baumann, founder and CEO of relaxation beverage brand Just Chill, and Jenia Kokotuha, founder and CEO of naturally flavored mint soda MINTA, have partnered up to launch Basemakers, a retail merchandising firm with a focus on developing and sustaining the in-store presence of emerging beverage brands.
In a call to BevNET, Baumann said the idea behind the new venture came out of his participation in the “Founder’s Forum” a beverage entrepreneur think tank of sorts, led by Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands division.
“The best place for brands to spend money for the highest amount of impact is at the point of purchase,” Baumann said. “But as we looked across the industry there wasn’t a company that stood for high quality, high service merchandising that offered category exclusivity in the way a distributor does.”
Basemakers soft launched in March, and its website currently lists Just Chill, Minta, and organic energy drink brand HiBall as clients. Baumann expects the company to unveil an introductory roster of seven brands in July as part of a larger debut. As Basemakers grows, Baumann says the company will look to bring more brands into the fold, but cap its clientele list “at around 15 brands.”
“Because we’re offering category exclusivity we’re being very selective on who we choose,” he adds. “We’re seeking brands that will have leadership in their categories for a long time.”
Baumann isn’t the only beverage brand founder to see the checkout lights and start a point-of-purchase merchandising business. Prometheus Springs founders Eric Stern and Alexis Mincolla also started Firebrand Marketing, a service provider company that works primarily with entrepreneurial brands.