Founded in 2012, The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Its flagship product, Alkaline88®, is a leading premier alkaline water brand available in bulk and single-serve sizes, along with eco-friendly aluminum packaging options. With its innovative, state-of-the-art proprietary electrolysis process, Alkaline88® delivers perfect 8.8 pH balanced alkaline drinking water with trace minerals and electrolytes and boasts the company’s trademarked label ‘Clean Beverage’. Quickly being recognized as a growing lifestyle brand, Alkaline88® launched A88 Infused™ in 2019 to meet consumer demand for flavor-infused products. A88 Infused™ flavored water is available in six unique all-natural flavors, with new flavors coming soon. Additionally, in 2020, the company launched the A88CBD™ brand, featuring a broad line of topical and ingestible products. These products are made with lab-tested full and broad-spectrum hemp and include salves, balms, lotions, essential oils, bath-salts, CBD infused drinks, tinctures, capsules, gummies and powder packs.
Innovation and Expansion
Founded in 2012, The Alkaline Water Company began with a mission to create the best-tasting water in the world. At the time, there were two emerging trends in health-conscious consumers: a growing interest in the alkaline diet and perceived health benefits of pink Himalayan rock salt. By combining these two concepts in an alkaline water and trademarking the name Alkaline88, The Alkaline Water Company began offering what it calls the smoothest tasting Clean Beverage™ in the U.S. enhanced-water category.
Now a top bulk alkaline-water brand (the company reported record sales in March and April 2020, surpassing March and April 2019 numbers by 114% and 171%, respectively), The Alkaline Water Company is committed to growing its national footprint through innovation and expansion. That mindset was evident as the company introduced eco-friendly aluminum bottles and branched out into flavor-infused waters; the company currently offers six different flavors: peach/mango, lemon/lime, raspberry, watermelon, blood orange and lemon.
The company’s commitment to innovation may be most evident in its newest product line: A88CBD. This line of CBD-infused products includes tinctures, capsules, gummies, salves, balms, hand and foot lotions, essential oils, bath bombs and bath salts, as well as CBD-infused drinks, water and beverage shots. These quality, CBD-infused offerings are all made with lab-tested, full-spectrum hemp and are conveniently packaged and perfect for on-the-go or at home use.
In addition, The Alkaline Water Company has implemented an aggressive growth strategy, with numerous organic initiatives focused on national multichannel, mass-market expansion through a direct-to-warehouse model and co-packing facilities that are strategically located within 600 miles of 95% of the U.S. population. In addition to this strong brick-and-mortar approach, the company recently launched a B2C e-commerce platform (www.A88CBD.com) and aggressive digital-marketing campaigns.
Clear Advantages in a Growing Market
With consistent growth year over year, the company reported $32.2 million in revenue in fiscal 2019 and has emerged as a growth leader in the functional (value-added) waters space, which is the fastest-growing segment of the bottled water industry.
The Alkaline Water Company’s efforts are focused on its clear competitive advantages, including its strong marketing (the inclusion of alkaline in product names); existing grocery channels, which feature excellent relationships and a nationwide broker network; distinctive branding; proprietary technology, which produces great-tasting, high-quality water, infused drinks and other products; and price, with a broad range of products in all formats, from bulk bottles to single serve.
As the company focuses on strategic growth, it is eyeing the impressive potential of a market that is on a strong upswing. Annual bottled water sales have now surpassed soda consumption, with soda sales in the United States having declined by $1.2 billion over the past five years. Some research indicates that the global bottled water market will reach an estimated $280 billion this year, while the CBD market is forecast to top $20 billion by 2024.
With its products available in all major trade channels, including grocery stores, drug stores, c-stores and big-box retailers, The Alkaline Water Company is also looking to expand into new spaces, such as health and beauty, hospitality and specialty retailer locations.
Seasoned Management Team
The Alkaline Water Company is led by an experienced team focused on the company’s core strategy of building a national retail footprint and extending its lifestyle brands into other consumer packaged goods categories.
Richard A. Wright, President, CEO and Co-Founder of The Alkaline Water Company Inc., oversees all aspects of the business, successfully guiding the company through strategic opportunities and delivering greater than 50% growth since the company’s inception. A passionate and versatile leader with a strong track record of innovation, collaboration and achieving goal-driven results, Wright is a serial entrepreneur with more than 41 years of experience. Early in his career, he spent years at one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, working his way up to Regional Director of Tax and Financial Planning. As a CPA, entrepreneur and former CFO, Wright brings extensive knowledge of finance, operations, sales and marketing to the team, and he has participated in hundreds of M&A transactions throughout his career.
David Guarino, CFO, Secretary, Treasurer and Director, earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Denver. From 2008 to 2013, Guarino was President and a Director of Kahala Corp., a worldwide franchisor of multiple quick-service restaurant brands with locations in 49 states and more than 25 countries. From 2014 to 2015, Guarino was President of HTI International Holdings Inc., a technology company focused on forward osmosis water filtration technology.
Frank Chessman, National Sales Manager, is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He spent 25 years with Ralph’s Grocery, Kroger’s largest division, working at many levels before ultimately becoming Vice President of Advertising & Marketing. He then served 14 years as Executive Vice President at Simon Marketing. Chessman has more than a decade of experience in the beverage manufacturing industry.
Brian Sudano, Director, is managing partner of Beverage Marketing Corporation and BMC Strategic Associates. Sudano’s experience covers nearly the entire beverage industry, from energy drinks to wine, with special expertise in beverage alcohol by virtue of varied industry experience across a broad range of projects. Sudano manages several major clients, providing ongoing strategic and market advice and leading projects in strategic planning, market entry analysis and planning, sales/distribution, business modeling, brand repositioning and international opportunity assessment. He has spoken at many beverage industry events and is a contributing editor at Beverage World magazine.
Aaron Keay, Chairman, has been a successful investor, entrepreneur and financier to multiple small cap and startup companies over the last decade. During his time with these companies, he served in advisor, board-member and senior-management roles. His experience ranges across multiple sectors in mining, biotech, health and wellness, tech and cannabis, where he has invested and raised more than $500 million.