In 2016, the brand had its first hit with Dusty Boots, billed as “Canada’s first hard root beer,” an alcoholized version of the soda-fountain classic. It became Canada’s top RTD innovation in 2016. After the success of Dusty Boots, the company began a pivot toward the ‘better for you’ beverage alcohol space. “We made a decision as a team in 2017 that we wanted to be a company that was exclusively focused on innovating for the “better for you” active consumer. The other thing that we decided is that we felt that our RTD lacked trans- parency to the consumer. The consumer didn’t know how many calories or how much sugar was in the beverage because it’s not mandated that you put a nutrition facts label on an RTD or beverage alcohol product. To push ourselves
to break through as a better for you company, we felt it was important that we cut out sugar, cut down calories, and also include nutritional fact tables, so the consumer knows what they’re putting in their body. We’re a young active team and as a team, we moved away from sweet and sugary beverages. So, we wanted to innovate to the active consumer focusing on wellness,” said McDonald. Cottage Springs launched in 2018. “Our mission was to give the consumers a great taste but with no sugar, no sweetener, and to have all the calories come from alcohol. That’s when we really estab- lished ourselves as a “better for you”” beverage company” said McDonald.
“Our mission was to give the consumers a great taste but with no sugar, no sweetener, and to have all the calories come from alcohol.”
The company now employs about 40 people during the busy summer season. “Our core team is about 20 full time people. That includes people that work in our head office in Toronto, but also full-time sales reps on the road. The industry is very busy in the summer, so we do hire and take on quite a few part time and seasonal workers,” said Bartek. “When Bobby, Cam and I initially, started the business, we did every single job ourselves. So, we know what it takes to grow and start the business. As we grew and brought on board a really talented, young team, we wanted to keep that innovation fueled culture intact. Our team environment is what really makes us different from other companies. It really feels like a family environment here and no task is below anybody. Quite frankly, we don’t have any doors. We work in one big room sitting next to each other, sharing ideas, always challenging each other on our position,” said Bartek. “It is a lot of fun to be in beverage alcohol, but it’s also not an easy job because most people like to enjoy their beverages in this space on the weekends. So that’s when we work and when we collect our information and support our brands. It is a seven-days a week type of job. Cam and I are super happy about the team we have built and have in place now,” said Bartek.
“We made a decision as a team in 2017 that we wanted to be a company that was exclusively focused on innovating for the“better for you” active consumer.”
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2020 118
DECEMBER 2020 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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