Interview with Chris Huddleston of Rubyy Blood Orange Energy drink
RUBYY ENERGY DRINK
Question 1. Who are you and what is the name of your company?
Chris Huddleston- the managing partner of Rubyy Energy Drink.
Question 2. How many people work for your company?
I have a partner, Maurice Kanber (founder of Skyy Vodka), 5 people that work for Rubyy and a full sales force through Southern Wine & Spirits.
Question 3. How long has your company been in business?
We started working with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey’s design firm (Werner Design Werks) on Rubyy’s unique 12oz, re-sealable aluminum bottle almost two years ago. The energy formulation took about a year. We bottled in March and hit the market April of this year.
Question 4. Who came up with the idea for Rubyy? What’s the story behind it?
Maurice (Kanbar) came up with the idea for Rubyy. He felt that despite the explosion in the energy drink sector there hadn’t been an offering with any sophistication or class. As a team, we really set out to reposition the entire category much in the way that Skyy, Grey Goose and Patron have reshaped the way consumers view vodka and tequila as luxury spirits.
Question 5. How was the flavor chosen?
We wanted to makeover the typical energy drink from top to bottom. We both felt that if The taste could be as unique as the packaging, then we would have an unbeatable combo. We had an affinity for Orangina and Fresca so we tried to emulate those flavors while adding a modern twist with the energy boost. Our flavor house really nailed it.
Question 6. Who designed the bottle and why was the design chosen?
The Rubyy bottle was designed by Werner Design Werks in Minnesota. We decided to work with the WDW team because of their experience and creativity in the luxury spirits category- they are responsible for the 10 Cane Rum and Knob Creek bottles. Our goal was to create a package that would make its way out of the refrigerator in a restaurant/club and onto the back-bar alongside the high-end spirits.
Question 7. How did you decide which ingredients to put in Rubyy? What are some of the ingredients you feel strongly about?
There have been so many energy products that have been introduced over the years and the biggest complaint we kept hearing in our initial research is that a lot of energy drinks made people jittery. We made it our goal to craft a smooth energy boost, which we definitely succeeded in. Next, we wanted to provide some extended health benefits- we use a proprietary blend of orange juices (including blood oranges) in addition to giving a full dose of essential vitamins (including 100% RDI of B Vitamins).
Question 8. Do you plan on releasing other flavors or a sugar free version? What’s in the works?
We’re focused on doing one flavor well and consistently. We’re building Rubyy into a brand and don’t want to veer of course or be seen as a trend. With that said, we’re limiting our brand extensions to Diet Rubyy which will be release early 2009. The flavor for Diet rivals Regular Rubyy (with a hint of grapefruit) and the bottle is a matte white, very sleek looking package. We’re all very excited about it.
Question 9. Some companies target extreme athletes, Students, Party crowd, etc... Who is your target market?
We wanted to create an energy drink that a CEO could carry into a board meeting, and not feel like he stole it from his kid. Our customers really transcend age/gender/race. The common thread is that the Rubyy consumer has a strong self-identity and connects with brands based on packaging, positioning and most importantly- quality.
Question 10. Who is your products main competition? Energy drinks, Energy shots, energy pills. The big boys like RB or Monster?
Rubyy is pioneering a new category with its luxury positioning. The product is different from the competition in a way that allows us to co-exist with established brands that offer the standard energy drink flavor profile. We like to think of Rubyy as the Grey Goose of the energy drink market alongside the Absolut Vodkas if you will. Rubyy is really an affordable luxury good that is for people with a discerning palette.
Question 11. Seeing as how the energy drink market is growing and so many new drinks/shots seemed to be released every month what do you see happening to the market? Will it continue to grow or do you see it slowing down.
I think that as the energy drink category continues to mature, the market will most likely level off. However, there will always be room in any product category for innovative brands that feel new, offer something different or are able to connect with consumers. This has been shown time and again- the vodka category had matured by the time Skyy and Grey Goose hit the market and Patron was a late bloomer in a category dominated by Jose Cuervo.
Question 12. What are your feelings on the current controversy concerning mixing energy drinks and alcohol?
I’m a big believer in the idea that anything is ok in moderation. Responsible consumption of energy drinks is also key for consumers and Rubyy’s resealable cap promotes enjoying Rubyy in several sittings as opposed to the competition’s 16 or 8oz single serving.
Question 13. Where is Rubyy currently distributed/sold? Do you plan on extending distribution to new areas?
Rubyy is distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits in South Florida and Los Angeles. We anticipate moving into New York and Nevada in Spring ’09 and then continuing our growth from there. We just forged a partnership with the W Hotel Chain (Starwood) as our first national account. Customers will find Rubyy served at the in-room “Munchie Boxes” and at the W Hotel’s Sweat Fitness and Living Room concepts nationwide.
Question 14. Tell all Energy drink junkies out there why they should use and support Rubyy. Give us your best sales pitch.
Rubyy is an all around premium product- the Grey Goose of Energy Drinks- award winning packaging that chills faster, stays cold longer, is re-sealable and 100% recyclable. Rubyy has an unbeatable citrus flavor and smooth energy boost that is enjoyable first thing in the morning or mixed into an evening cocktail. Pour out what you know about energy drinks and pour on a Rubyy.
Read the review of Rubyy Blood Orange energy drink
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