Genius Announces Line Extension, Opens Series A

Having re-released its flagship product last year, premium coconut smoothie maker Genius is growing its line with the launch of two new flavors set to debut later this year: Coffee and Turmeric.

Speaking to BevNET, Genius CEO Alex Bayer said the new flavors mark a new phase in the company’s growth, which has largely relied on a single SKU for much of its history since cutting non-core flavored offerings in 2015. The new varieties will debut in January in about 500 locations nationwide, including Whole Foods Market. While the new flavors capitalize on rising trends, both coffee and turmeric also bring added function to the brand, Bayer said.

The full line is also set to expand into Market District stores later this year and Giant Eagle early next year, bringing total distribution close to 1,000 stores nationwide, including the addition of retailers over the past year such as Mom’s Market, EarthFare, Fairway Market, Market of Choice, Huckleberry’s, and Mollie Stones. The brand has also launched on Amazon.

Genius has been through a number of rebrands and product variations over the past three years. The company re-launched its flagship coconut smoothie line in late 2017, nearly a year after issues with scaling and production prompted the company to pivot from coconut to “Superfood Smoothies” — a change that caused some retailers to drop the brand. Since the relaunch, Genius has focused on rebuilding its distribution footprint and has tripled its month-over-month revenue since February, according to Bayer.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs, we’ve been out of production, we’ve had to move facilities, we’ve done different formulations,” Bayer said. “So I feel for the first time in the company’s history we’re getting some serious traction and becoming a brand that could eventually be a household name, or at least something in the ranks of a larger brand like Harmless Harvest, Health-Ade, or any of those companies.”

Although his long-term goal is to make Genius a mainstream brand, Bayer said he plans to focus more on going deep and increasing velocity within existing accounts than trying to grow too quickly. The company is using in-store promos to build brand recognition, he said.

Genius is also working to cut its price. Previously priced between $6.49 and $6.99 per 12 oz. bottle, Bayer said the product is now down to $5.99 in many retailers. As part of its deal with Giant Eagle, Genius will sell for $4.99 in its stores, with hopes to one day bring the price lower.

“That is a big focus for us,” he said. “This is a brand that could easily go mainstream to me. This is something that tastes good, it’s healthy, easy to understand, the branding is very fun and colorful. This can be at a 7-Eleven, this can be at a C-store, or a Target, or a CostCo. It’s just a matter of getting the price down, so we’re working on increasing our volume and one way to do that is to have more SKUs.”

According to Bayer, the company took on several small investments, including re-ups from current investors, over the past year to help fund the line expansion. Genius has now opened up a $1.8 million Series A funding round to fuel marketing, retail expansion, and further product innovation. Bayer said the company has already seen some commitments from family offices and high net worth individuals, but is still seeking new parties.

“I think for the first time in the company’s history we’re stabilized, we’re growing, nothing’s standing in our way, and we’re poised for huge growth,” Bayer said.