Distribution Roundup: Hydration Brands Expand in Retail

HFactor Expands in NoCal, Texas as Retail Strategy Evolves

Hydrogen-infused water brand HFactor is continuing to expand its retail footprint around the country, announcing this month it has added 360 Safeway supermarket locations in Northern California, as well as activations in Street Market and United Specialty Stores in Texas.

The new accounts follow a year of distribution news for the brand, which most recently in December saw the company partner with Haralambos Distributing to cover the West Coast.

Speaking with BevNET today, HFactor COO Chris Sanborn said the company has diversified its channel strategy over the past year and is looking to go broad: it’s focused on East Coast, West Coast, Chicago, and Texas markets, he said.

“Now that we’ve got some brand recognition the question is how do we as efficiently as possible attack as many and as diverse a community of retailers as possible,” Sanborn told BevNET. “We need to work with the [major distributors], and we need to do some direct with the more specialty stores, like the Erewhons of the world. So we had a hybrid approach of putting safely together four or five different distribution channels.”

Sanborn added that the strategy resulted from a wide consumer base which spans from athletes to senior citizens. The company has engaged in omnichannel marketing campaigns, including in-store sampling, print ads, digital, and social media.

Liquid I.V. Launches in Costco

Drink mix brand Liquid I.V., which markets an electrolyte-rich water additive, has launched nationwide in 516 Costco stores, the company announced this month. The launch was accompanied by promotion in the retailer’s mailer, The Costco Connection.

Speaking with BevNET, Liquid I.V. CEO Brandin Cohen called the retailer an “incredible partner” and said the expansion comes as Costco seeks to build out its health and wellness set, with the retailer viewing hydration as an important subset of the space. The brand has also been available on Costco’s website since 2017 and launched a test run in West Coast stores in 2018.

“We started to gain momentum in the market over the last couple years, they really believed in us early on,” Cohen told BevNET. “It’s been one of those partnerships that started small, it was a great test, and it just continued to scale. I think we’re all excited about where we’re going moving forward.”

Cohen said the company is focused on driving trial through in-store promotions and sampling as part of what he called a “sticks in hand” strategy.

He added that the brand is also preparing to launch later this year line extensions that focus on functionalities beyond hydration, including sleep and energy.

“By the end of the year we’re going to be transitioning from just a hydration brand into a 360 degree wellness brand,” he said.

Liquid I.V. is now available in more than 20,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, GNC, CVS, Ralphs, Vons, and Kroger.

Madrinas Coffee Launches in Walmart

Madrinas Coffee, which produces a line of cold brew coffees in 15 oz. cans, is expanding into more than 700 Walmart stores nationwide this month.

“Throughout 2018, we heard heavy feedback that Walmart was a preferred National retailer for our audience, and our data showed heavy webstore traffic coming from California, Florida, and Texas,” said Madrinas co-founder and VP Alex Davis in a press release. “When we shared this data with Walmart, they were eager to get Madrinas Coffee into their next possible reset, which was in January 2019.”

CELSIUS Gains Placement in DICK’S Sporting Goods

Fitness focused beverage maker CELSIUS launched four SKUs of its Original line in more than 250 DICK’S Sporting Goods stores nationwide, the company announced in a press release. According to the release, the brand has secured front-of-store grab-and-go placement.

The expansion marks a continued multi-channel expansion strategy for the company, which has previously targeted health and wellness consumers in vitamin specialty, gyms, and health clubs in addition to conventional retail channels.

The company also announced expansion within the military channel, with its Original, Natural, and CELSIUS HEAT lines now available in more than 800 military exchange stores affiliated with the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corp, and Coast Guard — growth that has moved more than 75,000 units per week as of December, marking a 650 percent increase in military sales since May 2017.

“In addition to today’s announcement, our recently concluded selling season has exceeded expectations and we will be announcing additional new marquee accounts and expansions with existing customers as we receive final purchase orders to support product resets with our retail partners in the spring,” said CELSIUS president and CEO John Fieldly, in the Jan. 8 release.

Additionally, the company grew its presence in Target stores nationwide, adding a fourth SKU, Kiwi Guava, to more than 1,000 stores. The retailer also stocks CELSIUS’ Sparkling Orange, Peach Mango, and Sparkling Watermelon varieties.