Yerbae Partners with AB InBev Distributors
Caffeinated sparkling water brand Yerbae, which launched on the West Coast last year, is making a push into the Midwest by partnering with 23 Anheuser-Busch InBev DSD distributors in Wisconsin and Minnesota and adding retailers in the greater Chicago area.
Speaking with BevNET today, Yerbae CEO Todd Gibson said the brand has formed partnerships with a variety of houses, including Wisconsin Distributors, Capitol Beverage, CNL Distributing, and College City Beverage to distribute the brand’s 16 oz. cans beginning in January 2019. In Illinois, the brand is partnering with Lakeshore Beverage to cover Chicago, Pure Beverage Company in Indianapolis, and is in the process of adding several more distributors.
“Our midwest business is about to go through the roof,” Gibson said.
Gibson said much of the impetus to sign Midwest distributors is to service Yerbae’s major chain partners in the region, including Lunds & Byerlys, Holiday Station, Cub Foods, Jewel, Kowalski’s, Woodlands, and Mariano’s.
The Midwest expansion came about after Yerbae participated in a Costco test run “road show” aimed at boosting its exposure in the region. According to Gibson, the company is targeting places where the growth in sparkling water sales — a category seeing a nationwide boom — have been strongest. He highlighted the upper midwest as a starting point for the category’s recent surge.
“We like to cover strategic areas,” Gibson said. “Where sparkling water is growing at an incredible rate is a great area for our brand to be positioned. La Croix was created in Wisconsin and there’s been an incredible sparkling water following in the northern Midwest.”
To date the brand has found a retail presence in about 2,700 stores throughout California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. According to Gibson, the brand works with distributors including Haralambos, John Lenore & Co., Hensley, Columbia Distributing, and New Age Beverage Corporation to cover these areas.
“We’re trying to control where we go,” Gibson said. “You can go the market like peanut butter and spread it across the country, but odds are you’re going to fail in a lot of places and succeed in a few. So our approach was to focus on the West, build our business, understand who our consumer is and then dial in specifically, directly to that consumer.”
Flow Water Enters 4,000 CVS Stores
Flow Alkaline Spring Water will enter more than 4,000 CVS stores nationwide starting December 30 as part of the drug retailer’s Better Inside and Out set, the company told BevNET in an email.
The expansion will include Flow’s 1L Tetra Pak cartons as well as the brand’s flavored line: Cucumber + Mint, Lemon + Ginger, Strawberry + Rose, and Watermelon + Lime.
“The 6-week program will merge Flow’s mission of providing mindful hydration with CVS’ commitment in providing healthier products for consumers,” the brand wrote. “Flow delivers on all three of CVS’ core pillars; ensuring healthier decisions are easier to make, reducing environmental impact, and making a social impact on communities…. The inclusion in CVS’ Better Inside and Out Set will give Flow the exciting opportunity to continue to provide consumers with better, healthier products – while also helping them to achieve hydration in a sustainable way.”
Bawls Guarana Adds Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
High-caffeine soda brand BAWLS Guarana has added 75 Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores across the Midwest, the company announced in a press release this month. The brand’s five flavors will be available in 10 oz. bottles at the retailer’s front-of-store cold boxes.
The Fresh Thyme expansion will be serviced by KeHE, which also distributes BAWLS Guarana to Jewel-Osco and Meijer in the midwest.
“BAWLS Guarana is excited about this great opportunity to partner with Fresh Thyme and get our unique product into the hands of both our loyal and new BAWLS customers,” said CEO Jon Gunnerson in the release. “Fresh Thyme stores are located in 11 Midwest states including Ohio, so it’s great to have a local presence in Cleveland where BAWLS is headquartered.”
Shine Water Expands in Earth Fare
Physician Made Beverages, LLC, maker of electrolyte-infused Shine Water, has expanded the brand into all North Carolina and South Carolina Earth Fare locations, the company announced, effective November 1. The brand expects to be in 100 retail stores by the end of the year and will be in 500 by late Spring 2019, the company said in a press release.
“We’re bringing an authentic product into the marketplace with real health value that people love and drink daily as part of their wellness routine,” said Angel French, chief development officer, in the release. “Offering Shine in Earth Fare will help us to continue building this compelling story in the region.”
Shine Water, available in Kiwi Cucumber, Poma Grape, and Strawberry Lemon flavors, is infused with vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants. The line is sugar free and contains 20 calories per 16 oz. bottle.