Supplier Spotlights: Hatch Loyalty, Monster Energy & Talking Rain

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Supplier Spotlights: Hatch Loyalty, Monster Energy & Talking Rain

By Angela Hanson - 09/26/2017

NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.

Here are the latest supplier spotlights:

A&W Restaurants

All A&W Restaurants across the world, including 630 locations in the United States, are now serving freshly made root beer. The move is a testament to the brand's original craft beverage roots, according to the company.

The fresh root beer is made using a mixture of A&W's top-secret blend of spices, real can sugar and water to create the signature A&W taste.

The move follows the brand's continued push into the convenience channel, as CSNews Online reported.

E-Alternative Solutions

E-Alternative Solutions (EAS), a sister company to Swisher International and the exclusive distributor of Cue Vapor System, sponsored the No. 83 Copp Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. J.J. Yeley drove the car in the Aug. 16 race.

The partnership offered adult racing fans the chance to win exclusive J.J. Yeley memorabilia through Cue Vapor System's social media channels and to meet Yeley at the Cue Vapor Mobile Unit located on Bristol's Earhart Campground. The unit is the first-ever mobile vaping lounge, a 40-foot truck dedicated to Cue products and outfitted for maximum vaping satisfaction, according to the company.

"I'm thrilled to have Cue on the No. 83 Copp Motorsports Chevy, and to kick back with fans at the Cue Vapor Mobile Unit in Bristol," Yeley said. "It's going to be another great race at the half-mile track, and I'm looking forward to a great showing."

Cue's presence at Bristol was part of its "Satisfaction, At Last" tour that featured the Cue Vapor Mobile Unit at various events nationwide over the summer, including races, concerts, festivals and more.

"As longtime fans of racing and J.J. Yeley, EAS is excited to support J.J. and the No. 83 Copp Motorsports truck team at Bristol, the organization's first Camping World Truck series sponsorship," said Jacopo D'Alessandris, president and CEO of EAS. "It's an honor to be a part of the great racing tradition at Bristol Motor Speedway. We're looking forward to a great night and a great race."

Five Points Trading Co.

Birra Moretti, Italy's classic beer made in the traditional way since 1859, is teaming with Italian pastime bocce ball to encourage consumers of legal drinking age to come together and enjoy two Italian classic with friends, family and fellow patrons at social gatherings this fall.

"Bocce ball is a fun and social game that anyone can play," said Amberly Hilinski, senior brand manager for Birra Moretti, Five Points Trading Co. "The game has a vintage, throwback appeal and is enjoying a renaissance in the U.S. today. We are excited to provide on-premise and retail accounts with a program that pairs these two great Italian classics to help drive consumer engagement and increase sales of Birra Moretti Lager and La Rossa."

At retail where legal, custom-designed point-of-sale materials such as posters, tuck cards and bocce kit display enhancers will invite consumers to choose Birra Moretti and bocce to enhance their social gatherings, whether at home or at other outdoor locations. Local radio and out of home advertising will amplify the program and drive consumer engagement.

"Birra Moretti is made using only the finest raw ingredients including a special blend of hops that give the beer its distinctive taste and fragrance," Hilinski said. "It is crafted in appreciation of timeless Italian culture and traditions. Pairing Birra Moretti, Italy's beer, with bocce is a natural."

Hatch Loyalty

Formerly Belly, Hatch Loyalty has undergone a renaming that represents its evolution, growth and innovation. Belly will continue to exist as Hatch's loyalty solution for small- to medium-sized businesses.

"The primary driver was a recognition that Belly is a very important part of who we are, but isn't representative of all we have to offer our customers and partners. We believe loyalty is an outcome of a great customer experience," said Hatch Loyalty CEO Dan Gloede. "Our technology serves as the platform enabling personalization, with the aim of driving new, desired behavior on behalf of our retail and brand partners. Our team has been expanding the Hatch platform capabilities, services and processes for about a year now, Hatch represents the culmination of that work on behalf of our employees and customers. We're excited about the future."

Hatch's platform is designed to deliver the speed and flexibility necessary to keep up with consumer demands. Its primary focus will be to bring more innovative technology to the fuel and convenience store industry and with technology partners.

KIND Healthy Snacks

KIND entered the fruit snacks category with the release of KIND Fruit Bites, which contain only fruit and no added sugar. The product line is intended to disrupt a category that has traditionally over-indexed on snacks filled with sugar rather than fruit, the company said.

"Since day one, KIND has been committed to balancing health and taste, and our KIND Promise has centered on crafting snacks with a nutritionally-dense first said Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND. "KIND Fruit Bites honors this promise, and is consistent with how we've always entered categories  with an eye toward disruption and a goal of elevating people's overall experience."

In tandem with the launch, KIND unveiled an installation in Times Square, New York City, that depicts 45,485 pounds of sugar as a visual representation of the amount of added sugar children in the U.S. are eating every five minutes.

"We saw our entrance into the children's snack space as an appropriate time to use our voice for good  to help people understand how much added sugar kids are eating every day, and how that can be detrimental to their overall health," Perruzza added. "Hopefully the installation will help put a spotlight on these important issues, which have managed to remain largely overlooked  until now."

KIND Fruit Bites contain no juices, purees, concentrates, preservatives or genetically engineered ingredients. Each snack has only three ingredients or less and is made with only real fruit. Each pouch provides one full serving of fruit.

Monster Energy

The energy drink brand announced its continued sponsorship deal with mixed martial arts star Conor "The Notorious" McGregor, which began in 2015. The extended partnership ensured that Monster's iconic M-claw was emblazoned on McGregor's shorts during his Aug. 26 fight against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas and his UFC title defense this year.

"After two years as a Monster Energy UFC fighter, we are excited to continue our partnership with Conor McGregor as he prepares for the biggest fight in history," said Marianne Radley, senior vice president of marketing, Monster Energy. "His bold confidence, determination and aggression are synonymous with our brand values and we are proud to have him represent our company."

In support of the partnership, Monster Energy shot a 30-second commercial spot that can be seen on its website, across various digital platforms and on select TV programming.

Stuzo

The digital product innovation firm, which focuses on connected commerce within fuel, convenience, quick-service restaurants and other retail categories, was ranked No. 1 by Clutch in both mobile app development and custom software development in the greater Philadelphia region.

An impartial third party company, Clutch interviews clients, collects data, compares competitors and publishes rankings to help companies find market-leading firms.

"We are humbled and honored to be named the industry leader in greater Philadelphia," said Aaron McLean, chief operating officer of Stuzo. "This is a testament to everyone on our team that works incredibly hard to make all of our clients successful. The kudos go directly to them."

Stuzo is currently celebrating its 10th year in business. It designs and builds innovative digital products that drive business outcomes for clients such as Sunoco, P&G, Mastercard, Swarovski, Verizon, Facebook, SEI and many others, according to the company.

Talking Rain Beverage Co.

Talking Rain, maker of Sparkling Ice flavored sparkling waters, has formed a strategic alliance with Tata Global Beverages. The agreement will enhance the brand reach of Himalayan Natural Mineral Water under the Talking Rain umbrella, leveraging the Sparkling Ice distribution network to launch the mineral water in the United States.

The agreement also signals the start of an alliance that will open doors for possible further expansion for Sparkling Ice into international markets.

"We are proud to announce a strategic alliance between Talking Rain and Tata Global Beverages," said Marcus Smith, president of Talking Rain Beverage Co. "Since 2012, we have worked diligently to create a strong and strategic direct-store-delivery distribution network, comprising more than 300 distributors covering every county in the United States. We are thrilled that the groundwork laid by the company and our distributor and retail partners has allowed the opportunity for a partnership of this kind, and we look forward to playing an instrumental role in the successful U.S. market entry for Himalayan Natural Mineral Water."

Himalayan Natural Mineral Water is sourced from an underground moving stream aquifer, which is approximately 400 feet below the surface in the foothills of the Himalayas.

"We are delighted to be partnering with Talking Rain for the US market entry of Tata Global Beverages' Himalayan natural mineral water. With this entry, our product portfolio in the USA market will extend to the water category in addition to our existing coffee and tea portfolio," said Stephen Rice, regional president Canada, America and Australia, Tata Global Beverages. "Himalayan is one of the first premium Indian FMCG brands to target the broader American audience and we look forward to working with Talking Rain to establish a strong market presence for Himalayan natural mineral water."

U.S. Beverage

The No. 1 independent beer importer in the United States celebrates its 20th anniversary. Established in 1997 by CEO Joseph Fisch, U.S. Beverage (USB) grew from a small business representing six brands to a top 10 U.S. imported beer and specialty beverage company, and the largest independent importer of beer in the country, according to the company.

"Successful companies are able to identify a gap between supply and demand, and present an innovative solution for bridging that gap," said Joseph Fisch, Founder and CEO of U.S. Beverage. "When founding USB in the mid '90's, the business opportunities within craft and imported beer were becoming evident as consumption and demand continued to grow, with many brands seeking greater access to the U.S. market but lacking the know-how required to achieve stateside sales and distribution. With no clear leadership on the independent side, USB determined to bridge that gap and fill a void in the industry by streamlining the sales and distribution of a portfolio of International beer brands, domestic craft beer, ciders, and non-alcoholic brands. 20 years later, we are proud to be the No. 1 Independent Beer Importer in the United States. As a result, we believe the future of U.S. Beverage is extremely bright."

Since its founding, U.S. Beverage has enhanced its commitment to furthering the sales, marketing, and distribution efforts for a diverse portfolio of award-winning brands from Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and southeast Asia, as well as the U.S., the company said.

"We are proud to represent so many incredible brands, and are so pleased to have had the opportunity to help them pave their pathways to success in the states; something that would not be possible without the support of our committed and loyal employees throughout our 20 years," stated Justin Fisch, Vice President — General Manager for USB. "We are honored by our longstanding relationships with supplier partners that share our values and aspirations, and look forward to furthering these relationships and making new connections in the world of beer for years to come."

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