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Liquid Death gets Gen Z to drink healthier beverages

Liquid Death's water beverage being handed out at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City.

Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball

Liquid Death is a case study in the power of marketing and branding, transforming a product as simple as water in a can into a business with $130 million in scanned retail sales, according to its CFO Nicholas Manolelis.

Between the lines: As the better-for-you category matures, health benefits and tastiness aren't the only ingredients for brand success — unconventional marketing can help create an edge in the otherwise crowded category.

Of note: Manolelis spoke to Axios from the sidelines of the Natural Products Expo West annual trade show being held last week in Anaheim, California.

Details: The company's tagline "Death to plastic," and its replacement of bottles with aluminum cans, aims to target Gen Z's alignment with sustainable consumption consumer behaviors.

  • For Liquid Death, canned water was just the beginning, introducing sparkling water, sparkling flavored water, and now flavored teas, Manolelis says.
  • Tea was a way for the company to create another healthy alternative, with a micro-dose of caffeine and low sugar content, to alcohol and remain accretive for the company, he says.
  • It's about making health and sustainability more fun, with partnerships with events business Live Nation and rock band Metallica and its world tour, he adds.

By the numbers: Manolelis declined to comment on the company's financial performance beyond scanned retail sales — which is an indicator, not the equivalent, of revenue.

  • In 2021 the company generated $45 million in retail sales, per previous reports.
  • The company, which raised a $70 million Series D round last fall at a $700 million valuation, is adequately capitalized, though it's always opportunistic when it comes to raising money, Manolelis says.

The intrigue: Liquid Death will not be entering the alcohol or energy drink categories, sticking to its healthy premise, Manolelis says.

The bottom line: It's not enough these days to embrace the latest food trends and taste good, the brand name needs to be crave-able too.

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