By Max Rothman
While beverage industry veterans often talk about challenging Red Bull and Monster in the same way you’d talk about dueling Vlad the Impaler, the competition keeps popping up.
One of the more interesting challengers — Little Miracles — strengthened its case Tuesday morning by announcing that it has signed brand representation agreements with Acosta Sales and Marketing and Coast Brands Group. The deal was struck on Jan. 1.
Little Miracles produces a line of tea-based, organic energy drinks that are already distributed in 21 European countries. By signing with Acosta and Coast, John Carroll, U.S. CEO of Little Miracles, said that the brand has begun to make its push into the U.S. marketplace.
“We’ve created this collaboration amongst the three parties where everyone’s truly excited and truly understands the scale and the scope of the brand,” Carroll said.
Marketed primarily toward women, the brand is positioned as a good-for-you alternative to the energy drink industry’s category leaders.
The plastic, resealable bottles, which have a suggested retail price of $1.99, contain 330 mL and come in four flavors: Green Tea & Pomegranate, Lemongrass Tea, Orange and Ginger, White Tea & Cherry and Black Tea & Peach. They represent a sharp departure from the standard energy drink not just because they abstain from cans, but also because they feature easygoing colors, fonts and a blossoming plant. Carroll and his colleagues want their consumers to have energy that’s soothing, comprehensible and comfortable.
Carroll said that the company and its representatives began making its pitches to retailers about two and a half weeks ago, so they’ve yet to strike a deal. However, when they do sit down, they’ll have Acosta and Coast on their side, acting as another layer of the company.
“We’ve really put a lot of collaboration in with both of them to ensure that when we go, it’s a uniform approach,” he said.
Little Miracles plans on starting with the Southern California market, which will include Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, and intends to move onto Las Vegas, New York and perhaps Boston, Miami and Chicago.
Carroll said that he believes that Little Miracles should be placed in the sections of retailers that assemble emerging, new-age beverage brands, rather than alongside other energy drinks.
The trio has identified about 50 accounts on its wish-list of partners, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Target, Safeway, Albertsons, 7-Eleven, Circle K, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. Carroll said that he’s probably closest to striking a deal with Sprouts Farmers Market and My Goods Markets, however, the process is more difficult at this time of the year — an atypical time for retailers to add new brands.
“We’re definitely going to make a hard push to make sure that we go with a very strong promotional program to really get them excited, to want them to move forward and place it out of cycle,” Carroll said.
He added that in 2013, owner Livio Bisterzo had discussions about partnering with brand incubator L.A. Libations, however, no deal came to fruition. Coast, founded by industry veteran Bob Groux, has relied on a set of national contacts to build brands like OhYeah!, but has also faced difficulty as former clients like New Leaf and HER have faltered.