Glow Beverages tackles co-packing challenges to fuel retail expansion

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Glow Beverags
Image Credit: Glow Beverags

Related tags functional beverages Sparkling water

Functional beverage brand Glow Beverages is expanding its retail footprint after overcoming initial co-packing challenges, brand Co-founder John Larson told FoodNavigator-USA.

Launched last fall​, the Glow product line consists of an alkaline water, sparkling waters, sparkling energy waters (formulated with coffee bean extract and B 12), and energy shots. The sparkling waters and sparkling energy waters are available in Cherry Lime, Ginger Lemon, Mango Apricot, Pineapple Blood Orange, Tiger's Blood, and Spicy Watermelon flavors.

Currently, Glow is available at Costco stores in the Bay Area and through Amazon and the brand's website, and it will be rolling out to 2,500 Walmart stores, Ralph's (Kroger), 7-Eleven, and Albertsons locations across the country in Spring 2023.

Addressing co-pack challenges to bottling

Before the brand could expand its retail footprint, it needed to overcome co-packing challenges, Larson admitted.

Glow Beverages come in taller, slimmer bottles than many other sports drinks, which many co-packers weren't set up to accommodate, Larson said.

However, because the bottle design is part of Glow's overall marketing as a premium product, it worked with its co-packers to accommodate the product, Larson said.

We had to push our co-packing partners to bring on new equipment to accommodate us. We had to convince others that a can isn't always the way to go or the generic sports drink bottle.​”

Expanding into retail, leveraging social media influencers to build brand

The brand will leverage its social media influencers to drive awareness of the brand and purchases as the brand expands in retail channels, Larson said. Last year, the brand partnered with influencer Kylie Jenner and Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott, who both serve as ambassadors and brand stakeholders, to promote the brand.

"We have such amazing reach between Dak, Kylie, and the 170 influencers; I think we're looking at month-in-month-out, based on all of their deliverables, of nearly a billion impressions monthly possible.​”

Innovating in the sparkling water category 

While the functional beverage and sparkling water categories are established at this point, this wasn’t always the case, Bill Sipper, managing partner at beverage consulting company Cascadia Managing Brands (a consultant to Glow), told FoodNavigator-USA. “Seven [to] ten years ago, sparkling water was just not a big category, a couple 100 million dollars,​” Sipper noted. 

Since then, “consumers started drink sparkling​” in part to the success of LaCroix, Sipper said.

The global sparkling bottled water market is estimated to be worth $45.4bn in 2023 and expected to be worth $93.6bn in 2023, growing by a 7.5% CAGR between 2023-2033, according to a Future Market Insights report​. And as the market continues to grow, “people outside of the industry​” will continue to drive innovation in the beverage space, Sipper added.    

The concept for Glow came from recognizing a need for a functional sparkling beverage in the market that appealed to everyday consumers, Larson said. Functional beverage brands, especially in the sports drink category, often heavily market with athletes, which might discourage some consumers, he noted. 

I've looked at functional beverages, and the big thing that jumped out to me is that the majority of functional beverages have been formulated for and marketed to extreme athletes. So, if you weren't jumping out of helicopters with a dirt bike or just coming off the football, those products didn't really resonate with you nutritionally, nor do they match up with your personal brand frequently."

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