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Sparkling water brand Waterloo nears inflection point

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Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Sparkling water brand Waterloo will evaluate whether to scale the business on its own, strike a direct-store delivery (DSD) partnership, or sell, CEO Jason Shiver tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Waterloo is part of a club of scaled sparkling water startups that could attract the interest of acquirers.

What they're saying: While Waterloo can bolster revenue via existing channels — online and conventional club and grocery — its structure excludes DSD and international, Shiver says.

  • As a result, there's going "to be an inflection point in the not-too-distant future," he says.
  • Options include striking a DSD agreement with a major strategic or a major strategic could "pick us up" to get access to all "the white space" the brand offers, Shiver explains.
  • "It's literally turnkey with tens of millions in revenue ready to be picked up," he says.

State of play: While not a household name like rivals Spindrift and Liquid Death, Waterloo's sales are north of $200 million.

  • The Austin, Texas-based company, which is approaching profitability, has grown by at least $30 million annually since 2018, Shiver says.

The latest: The board and management team have had some discussions about Waterloo's options, but both sides are still aligning on timing and strategy.

  • Shiver says the company will engage in those discussions over the next couple of years.

Catch up quick: Waterloo was founded in 2017 by Sean Cusack, Clayton Christopher and CAVU Venture Partners.

  • A consortium led by Flexis Capital and Eurazeo acquired a majority stake in 2020.
  • The company offers vegan-certified, non-GMO beverages packaged in BPA-free aluminum cans.

The big picture: Increasingly health-conscious consumers are opting for zero-calorie alternatives like sparkling flavored water.

Flashback: Shiver previously served as president of North America for SkinnyPop parent Amplify Snack Brands, which was acquired by Hershey for $1.6 billion in 2017.

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