In the years he spent building KeVita into a category leader in sparkling probiotic beverages and kombucha, Bill Moses has seen it all. From humble beginnings to gaining national broadline distribution and securing strategic partnerships to support growth, the co-founder and former CEO has guided KeVita’s evolution as a brand, which culminated last November when the company was acquired by PepsiCo for a reported price of $230 million. During an interview at BevNET Live Summer 2017 in New York, Moses spoke at length about his experiences in his first interview since the deal.
In breaking into the beverage market, Moses explained why KeVita decided to focus on price first, entering retailers at $2.99 while competitors were priced around $4 to $5. In developing a precise plan of execution to bring down its cost of goods and increase its full variable cost margins, the company was able to move aggressively into a category leadership position at retail, a tactic others could replicate in the right conditions.
“At the end of the day, if you have the time and visibility and discipline to map out things in advance, and you have a pathway to getting your margin up, go on price, go fast and win shelf,” he said.
Moses also shared valuable lessons from working at all levels of product development, production, sales and marketing. He encouraged brands to create mutually beneficial partnerships with co-packers, rather than take an “us-versus-them” approach; KeVita, for example, offered to help upgrade equipment to bring down costs. He also detailed some of the brand’s strategy and best practices when negotiating with retailers, emphasizing the importance of doing thorough background research and compressing temporary price reductions.
Watch the full video above for the complete interview, in which Moses discusses the benefits and risks of moving to national distribution, KeVita’s drive for greater transparency in kombucha, his philosophy on the role of a board of directors, and the company’s approach towards innovation.
NOTE: The above embedded video title reads that Bill Moses is the Founder of KeVita; Moses is the Co-Founder of KeVita.