Interview With SlumpBuster Co-Founder Jeff Brannon
- Updated: August 1, 2009
If any of you have ever played sports as a kid, I’m sure you all have experienced being in a slump. But what did you do to get out of it? Some may have thought about wearing the same underwear to every game until the slump was broken. Others might not have washed their socks, tweaked their stance (in baseball/softball) or mechanics in order to pull out of it. One might try almost anything to bust out of a slump. Why some of your friends might have even suggested you try what worked for them the last time they were in a slump!
This brings us to today’s interview with one of the co-founders of SlumpBuster Energy Drinks. These guys have basically said, if you’re in a slump and need a little added energy to help you break out of that slump, try a SlumpBuster Energy Drink. It’ll do the trick! After all, what usually follows a slump? The player usually tries so hard to break it that they exhaust themselves in the proccess. They wind up being tired more often than they use to before the slump because of it.
With Major League Baseball attendance hitting an all-time high in 2007 at 79.4 million, two former baseball players came up with the SlumpBuster concept, which will for the first time link the growing popularity of energy drinks and mainstream sports. While one of the largest selling energy drinks has seen success aligning its brand with extreme sports, the industry lacks an energy drink that is geared towards the athletes and fans of major spectator sports. SlumpBuster specifically caters to the vast number of amateur baseball players, softball players, and fans world wide who currently purchase a significant portion of energy drinks.
A Grass Rooots Approach
In addition to being offered through strategic distribution channels, SlumpBuster also seeks to be marketed at the community level. For example, SlumpBuster is the official energy drink of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, where the beverage will be offered exclusively to attendees at the Epicenter stadium. To compliment these grass roots campaigns, the SlumpBuster Business Development Department sends its own distribution team to individual accounts within a specified radius of each venue.
So, without further ado, here’s the interview…
Baseball Reflections (BR): Jeff, who is your partner and how far did each of you go in your baseball careers?
Jeff Brannon (JB): There are 4 owners and each of us have played sports at a high level. One was a top ranked junior golfer, one played on a national champtionship high school baseball team…another was a pitcher on a Division 1 college baseball team and another played AA ball in the Braves organization.
One thing we all have in common is that we’ve all been in slumps and realize the value of a SlumpBuster.
BR: Besides Boston Red Sox 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis, who has his own signature series, who else has taken up the SlumpBuster cause? Any other MLB players? Anything in the works that you can talk about?
JB: Youk’s the man, right now. We have discussed other opportunities, but nothing has developed as of yet. At this point we are focusing on the northeast region as that’s where fans live and die the most with their team. The New England region and New York is where everybody is taking down a SlumpBuster to help their team.
BR: Why did you & your partner concentrate on catering to amateur baseball players & softball players (in addition to fans world wide who currently purchase a significant portion of energy drinks)?
JB: The term SlumpBuster is so well recognized by ballplayers that it was a natural target for us. Sports fans , in general, were target 1A because people will do whatever it takes to turn their teams luck around.
BR: How did you guys get into the energy drink business? Did one of you have any previous experience in energy drinks aside from consumption?
JB: None of us had any experience in consumer products at all. We decided that SlumpBuster was the perfect name for an energy drink and jumped in with both feet.
We all have banking backgrounds, so we were definitely all ears when we started the research process.
BR: Can you tell us the process of coming up with your own unique brand of energy drinks? Was it difficult to get started?
JB: It was a learning experience, but I wouldn’t say it was difficult per se. We started with the design and then went on to the formula. The process took about 6 months from the first design meeting to when the 1st batch of Geena hit the floor.
BR: How did you begin to work with Garrett Berger at iFungo who holds distribution rights to Youks signature series with Walgreens?
JB: I just contacted Garrett one day regarding carrying us online and he agreed. We actually have a larger Northeast distributor that services our Walgreens account and have also branched into about 200 other independent stores in New York.
BR: Has Kevin Youkilis or his people objected to the name of the drink since he signed up before he knew what it was going to be called or is that report not based in reality?
JB: A lot of people have made a big deal about the name, but there are many connotations with the term SlumpBuster and we adhere to the mainstream definition, which suits an energy drink perfectly. Youk was excited about the name of the drink and was surprised to hear all of the other definitions..as were we.
Do you think that Youk’s advisors would allow him to be a part of a product that wasn’t even named yet? Those reports are completely false.
BR: Are the any plans for other flavors?
JB: Due to the success of our current products,we are sticking with our core for now, but other flavors are always an option.
BR: What can you tell our readers about the Youkilis deal and how purchasing Youks signature energy drink can help Youks kids?
JB: With each purchase of Youk’s Signature, we donate a portion of the proceeds to Youk’s Kids…www.youkskids.org Last year in our 1st year we donated $5,000.
Editor’s note: Please visit Kevin Youkilis’ Hits for Kids (http://www.youkskids.org/). To Donate your time or money to Youks Kids go here: http://www.youkskids.org/Youth-Charity.html
BR: What flavor is Youks Signature?
JB: Youk’s Signature is a raspberry lemonade blend. The flavor is similar to the Geena product, but has 0 calories and 0 carbs. The taste of both products have received rave reviews.
Editor’s note (per Jeff): They are both a raspberry lemonade blend, but one has sugar and one doesn’t…(kind of like a diet and regular).