When making long-term lifestyle changes, many people can pinpoint that “aha moment” that influenced their transformation. For Bill Creelman, founder and chief executive officer of Newton, Mass.-based Spindrift Beverage Co., the moment began as his family makeup was taking shape.
“I started Spindrift as a personal solve for a diet soda dependency issue I had developed,” he explains. “I also had a young family at the time and I began to think more critically about my consumption habits. Having grown up on a farm in western Massachusetts where food was sourced from our farm or the neighbors around us, from a very young age I had a very clear understanding of where food came from.
“When I decided to create a sparkling beverage, I wanted to use fresh and real ingredients that made sense to me: a lemon, a grapefruit,” Creelman continues. “It was the combination of these aspects that lead me to the creation of Spindrift.”
Founded eight years ago, Creelman notes the beverage landscape was quite different from where it is today.
“When we started Spindrift in 2010, it wasn’t clear to anyone what the fate of ‘soda’ and all of sparkling was going to be,” he says. “What we learned in the early years is that people love ‘bubbles’ — the taste, the nostalgia. What they didn’t want was the sugar. Today, sparkling water has been anointed the ‘heir apparent’ to soda in that it delivers everything people love without the guilt.”
Today, however, more consumers are purchasing products that deliver on health-and-wellness promises.
“We’ve definitely sensed a shift in the marketplace — consumers, now more than ever, are turning around products and paying attention to labels,” Creelman says. “Overall wellness is incredibly important to today’s consumer, and we’re definitely paying attention in order to cater to their needs.”
An amalgamation of carbonated water and real squeezed fruit, Spindrift sparkling waters have carved out their own niche in the broader packaged water market.
“I’d say we’ve created our own subcategory within the market — pushing the ‘real’ boundaries in a way no other brand had before,” Creelman says. “We continue to be the first and only sparkling beverage to be made with carbonated water and real squeezed fruit — yup, that’s it. We believe in transparency — across every aspect of our business — and offering our consumers a delicious and great-tasting beverage that they can feel confident in.”
Among the ways Spindrift is committed to transparency is through its produce suppliers.
“Our sourcing process starts with the question: where can we find the most delicious, least processed, directly sourced ingredients?” Creelman says. “That has naturally led us to working further and further upstream in the supply chain — with the farms who grow our fruit. We have to work often years ahead to look at crop cycles and resulting availability.”
This practice has helped Spindrift keep up with its promise to deliver “real” ingredients to consumers. “We are champions of simple, understandable ingredients, which has been our guiding North Star in all we do,” Creelman says. “Utilizing real ingredients is tricky — not the easiest to scale — but we believe it’s the only way to bring our product to market. We are the first sparkling water with color, with pulp, that’s listed our ingredients on the front label and back label.”
All of Spindrift’s ingredient are sourced from the United States with cucumbers coming from Michigan; raspberries and blackberries hailing from Oregon and Washington state; and grapefruits, lemons, oranges, limes and strawberries sourced from California and Arizona.
These ingredients help make up the brand’s nine varietals. Among its lineup, Creelman says that Grapefruit, Raspberry Lime and Lemon are the top performers.
But like any growing brand, Creelman teases that more is forthcoming on the flavor front. “As a brand, we’re consistently innovating within the boundaries of working with real ingredients,” he says. “We can’t say much yet, but just know we’ve got something juicy in the works for 2019.”
Although more consumers might be opting for healthier beverages these days, brand reach remains vital for Spindrift’s progression. To further its reach, the company relies on the most tried and true method when developing consumer loyalty: trial. Encouraging trial remains the marketing department’s main focus, Creelman says.
“Everything marketing does is to encourage trial,” he explains. “We believe if we can get someone to taste Spindrift, they will be a convert.”
However, Spindrift’s most recent marketing endeavor emerged after learning about actress Kristen Bell’s fandom for the brand.
“It was truly an organic partnership for us, given that our brand aligns with Kristen’s values and personality so seamlessly,” Creelman says. “We just so happen to learn that she is a huge Spindrift fan (she actually used to make her own version of it for her kids), and so the relationship was a no-brainer. We love that she keeps it real — and so do we.” BI