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Oct 18, 2019

In this episode, we feature an interview with Jason Shiver, CEO of fast-growing sparkling water brand Waterloo, who discussed his strategy for winning in a crowded and highly competitive category.

Launched in 2017, Waterloo, which is promoted as healthier and more flavorful than competing brands,  is backed by high-profile private equity firm CAVU Venture Partners and led by a team of experienced operators, including Shiver, an industry veteran whose resume includes roles at AriZona Beverages, Glutino and SkinnyPop. The company has pursued an aggressive growth strategy, and in just two years Waterloo has become one of the leading sparkling water brands in the natural channel and is carried nationally at Whole Foods and The Fresh Market. 

In the following interview, Shiver spoke about Waterloo’s fast start, why the brand’s co-founders hired him as CEO and how he’s applied lessons from past work to his current role. He also addressed growing concerns about added natural flavors, the challenges of managing rapid growth and how he establishes and communicates metrics for success.

Show notes:

1:41: What Will Come of VMG’s New Snacking Platform? -- The episode’s hosts chatted about a new grapefruit flavor from New Beverage Showdown 16 winner HopTea, how to save $200 on a ticket for BevNET Live Winter 2019, and some of the speakers and panels on tap for the event. They also touched on a $3 million raise for premium mixer brand Owen’s Craft Mixers and spoke about Popchips/RightRice founder Keith Belling’s upcoming appearance at NOSH Live Winter 2019. Later, they discussed news that VMG, an influential private equity firm has launched a new platform that will that will acquire, incubate and grow snack brands.

15:32: Interview: Jason Shiver, CEO, Waterloo -- Shiver spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about the formation and mission of Waterloo, his career experience prior to joining the company and why building a team of industry veterans was important to avoiding mistakes. He also explained why the company set out to hit the ground running, addressed concerns about added natural flavors, and why he’s “not trying to guess where the category is going.” Later, he discussed how Waterloo factors competition into its growth strategy, why he compares his work experience at Atkins to getting a doctor’s degree and how he speaks to employees about the long-term vision for the brand.

Brands in this episode: HopTea, Dixie Elixirs, AriZona Beverages, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Fiji Water, Owen’s Craft Mixers, PopChips, Justin’s, Spindrift, Humm Kombucha, Naked Juice, From The Ground Up, OWYN, SkinnyPop, SweetLeaf Tea, Bragg, Vitaminwater, Arctic Zero, Waterloo Sparkling Water, LaCroix, Bubly, Glutino, Atkins