By Max Rothman
Could Buffalo Wild Wings soon serve Doritos-flavored chicken?
While we’re not there yet (settle down, class), Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (BWW) announced Thursday that PepsiCo, Inc., will become the restaurant’s primary soft drink and non-carbonated beverage supplier. The partnership, which will begin in early 2014, will replace products by The Coca-Cola Co., Inc., in the chicken wing chain. It will also initiate a series of joint marketing initiatives tied to sports and entertainment, according to a release.
The partnership represents a significant coup for the cola giant. BWW has more than 975 locations across 49 states in the U.S. and Canada.
“We see this as a very powerful partnership in several ways,” BWW CEO Sally Smith said in the release. “For starters we’ll be bringing dynamic beverage brands to our restaurants, including options that our guests have been asking for, like Mountain Dew. We were also drawn to the marketing and promotional strength a partnership with PepsiCo creates, as it aligns well with our guests. Their NFL sponsorship and relationships with additional sports, entertainment and pop culture icons will enhance our guest experience in the future.”
Two recently-signed distribution deals in the Northeast both represent varying forms of innovation. RESQWATER, an anti-hangover beverage, announced Thursday its partnership with Northeast Beverage Corp of Rhode Island.
RESQWATER is gluten-free, certified kosher and made with organic ingredients, such as prickly pear cactus fruit extract, sugar, N-acetyl L-cysteine and milk thistle.
“We have been in the business for 17 years and service a clientele that ranges from locals who love craft beer to international tourists with a keen knowledge of fine wine — and RESQWATER fits the needs of everyone,” Ken Gallison, proprietor of Bridge Liquors in Newport, R.I., said in a release.
On Nov. 25, Belvoir Fruit Farms announced the launch of its new flavor, Elderflower and Rose, in specialty grocery retailer The Fresh Market. Family-owned and producing hand-made beverages in the Lincolnshire countryside of England since 1981, Belvoir launched Organic Elderflower Lemonade in December 2012 and brings the new flavor to 26 states in 25 cl and 75 cl bottles.
“We are thrilled to introduce a unique, high-quality and great tasting product to The Fresh Market consumer and we are honored to be working with them,” Olivia Sonnois, CEO of Brands Within Reach, Belvoir’s U.S. distributor, said in a release.
In the Southwest, distributors will begin offering lemonade and an energy drink not named Red Bull, Monster or Rockstar.
On Dec. 5, The Pulse Beverage Corporation, makers of Natural Cabana Lemonade, announced that 160 7-Eleven stores in Texas will carry the lemonade. The added presence brings the Cabana and 7-Eleven partnership to a total of 1,065 locations.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas-based XYIENCE Xenergy, the sugar-free, zero calorie energy drink, will ship its products from its home in the desert to the home of the Dust Bowl. On Dec. 4, XYIENCE announced a partnership with Capital Distributing, LLC, which will offer more than 1,800 retail doors, such as Circle K and Crest Foods, in eight counties in the Oklahoma City region. The agreement includes all eight of XYIENCE’s flavors as well as its non-carbonated options: Xenergy + Tea, Xenergy + Lemonade and Xenergy + Hydration.
“It’s clear that the leadership team at Capital is committed to building and growing brands so this is a very exciting relationship for XYIENCE,” Reuben Rios, vice president of U.S. sales, said in a release.
Moving farther west, Wai Koko Beverage Company announced on Dec. 4 that it has signed a partnership with Haralambos Beverage Company, the largest New Age beverage distributor in the Los Angeles region. The partnership will include distribution in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.
Wai Koko, based in Kauai, Hawaii, offer a coconut water in a 17.5 oz. can. The company will launch its Wai Koko Coconut Infusions line in the beginning of 2014.
“Our partnership with Haralambos is the next logical step for us as we continue our growth along the West Coast,” Jay Ensworth, co-founder and chief operations officer, said in a release.