Like many parents, Bob Leary, Peter Dacey and Casey Hoban wanted to provide their children with healthy foods and beverages. With that goal in mind, the three fathers came together with a vision to create a beverage that offered a functional benefit without the excess calories that many child athletes were consuming, explains Leary, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Trimino Brands Co. LLC, Branford, Conn.

“We all had a bunch of kids playing sports and drinking large quantities of sugary beverages,” he says. “We felt that we could develop a beverage that removed the empty calories from sugar and replace them with something good for you, [and] trimino was the answer.”

Yet, this wasn’t the group’s only goal. “Our goal is not to compete with traditional sports drinks,” Leary explains. “We designed the product to be, what I call, a mainstream product targeted at middle America, and in that context we stand out, and that’s where we’re getting a lot of traction. Young athletes love this product absolutely, and their mother’s love the fact that they love it because there’s no sugar in it. While this is a strong and growing consumer base for us, we [also] have a broad appeal across the full spectrum of generations. From moms on-the-go to baby boomers [who are] seeking additional protein in their diets.”

Launched in 2014, trimino – Protein Infused Water has hit the ground running. “trimino has experienced exponential growth since its inception, achieving almost four-fold growth over each of the last two years,” Leary says. “We anticipate similar growth in 2017.”

Offered in four flavors — Coconut Pineapple, Mixed Berry, Peach and Strawberry Lemonade — trimino — Protein Infused Water boasts 7 grams of whey protein isolate, B vitamins and 28 calories in each 16-ounce bottle. With no added sugar, carbohydrates, caffeine, gluten or lactose, the product is available on the East Coast, Florida and in parts of Texas.

“We are very strong in our home market of Connecticut, Massachusettes [and] Rhode Island, as you would expect, and are continuing to build density across the eastern seaboard,” Leary says. “We are also engaged with several national retailers, including CVS, with plans for rolling out trimino throughout the country.”

As part of its efforts to expand, the company recently gained distribution with BJ’s Wholesale Club stores, in which the brand has been performing well, according to Leary. Additionally, trimino will be rolling out in 7,000 CVS stores nationwide, becoming the brand’s first national account, he adds.

The enhanced water also will make its debut in Southern California later this year, Leary says. “We anticipate being on the shelf in about 500 supermarkets by the summer. This is a huge milestone for the brand and a great jumping-off point for national availability.”

However, these aren’t the only partnerships the brand is forging as it continues to expand its distribution footprint. “We are constantly looking to enhance and grow our distribution partner network,” Leary says. “We have many exciting plans in place to increase distribution. Hopefully, several new distribution deals will be announced before the summer.”

Trimino Brands utilizes a combination of direct-store-delivery (DSD) and warehouse distribution models, Leary says.

To ensure success for its partners, the company engages in a variety of efforts. For example, last year, the brand launched a club pack in select Sam’s Club stores. Leary notes that as a result of the SKU’s success, it will be launching again in Sam’s Club stores in the near future.

Whether an old market or a new one, Leary notes that utilizing several marketing platforms also is important. “It’s the most important thing for us to be doing,” he says. “… Our old markets, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, we’re really cooking in those markets, but so many people have no idea what trimino is, so we’re constantly reaching out with social media, traditional marketing, experiential marketing [and] event sampling. You name it. You’ve got to pound the market on all fronts to get people to understand the product and try it.

“… As we move into new geographies, it’s harder because every time you’re starting from scratch, or almost from scratch,” he continues. “For instance, we just signed a deal to be advertising on one of the electronic billboards in Times Square. Hopefully, that’ll start creating the brand awareness that we need for the distributor that we work with in Manhattan.”

Line extensions and new flavors are on the horizon, and the future looks bright, Leary says.

“We’ve built a great foundation, we’re working with some great retailers and distributors, and with continued high-quality execution you will see Trimino Brands become a significant player in the functional beverage segment,” he says. “Already the market sees trimino as a great replacement for [carbonated soft drinks] (CSDs) and high-sugar sports drinks. With the flavor profile of a soft drink and the health properties of a functional beverage, we are well positioned for continued high growth.” BI