C4's President On Growing Through Distribution Gains, Innovation

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While Red Bull and Monster continue to dominate the category in terms of sales, C4, a division of Nutrabolt, is one of the leaders of an ambitious cohort of younger energy drink brands that are hard charging at the leaders’ heels. Since launching its first ready-to-drink product in 2015, the Austin, Texas-based brand has leveraged its credentials in the world of fitness and athletics through its core line of performance energy drinks, then taken the concept further with the introduction of the cognition-centric Smart Energy line. C4 has backed up its product innovation with strong execution in operations and distribution, as it continues to add regional DSD houses and make progress on its goal of creating a national network. 

In a video interview with BevNET, managing editor Martin Caballero, Doss Cunningham, owner and president of C4, discussed how the brand grappled with the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on key channels such as convenience. He also spoke about how C4 sets guidelines around brand growth, how its internal team has added key roles, how the Bang-PepsiCo distribution fallout is influencing category dynamics, and the company’s use-occasion-based approach to innovation.