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THE BEVERAGEDAILY BASEMENT TAPES: CHRIS HANNAWAY, OVERLY SPORTS DRINK

Sainsbury's listings at 19, a sports drink launch at 24: Overly entrepreneur on guessing Justin King's email and casting off wide-eyed innocence

10-Jul-2014
Last updated on 10-Jul-2014 at 18:34 GMT - By Ben Bouckley+
Sainsbury's listings at 19, sports drinks at 24: Overly comes of age
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Young entrepreneur Chris Hannaway and childhood friend Will Hammersley launched frozen yogurt brand Arctic Farm into Sainsbury’s at the tender age of 19. Now they’re back with sports drink Overly. This is Chris’s story…

“We got our Sainsbury’s listing after someone on my course did a placement with their buying team, and passed on a phone number," Hannaway, now aged 24, tells Ben Bouckley about yogurt brand Arctic Farm, in this new slot that lets you listen in on the call during an interview.

“That was just a starting point. But we then found out that [recently departed] Sainsbury's boss Justin King went to my university and did the same course, so we guessed his address, emailed him," Hannaway adds.

“The buyer had just changed over. So by the time a new buyer came in we’d already met her boss, and had some email support generally from Justin King. So I don’t think she could really say ‘No’ at that point!”

After exiting yogurt (the picture shows Chris and Will in 2010 after the launch) and a false start in iced tea, Chris and Will decided to pivot into sports drinks by targeting “ambitious young guys”.

“This struck us as a more dynamic category, one we were a bit more passionate about – with the target consumers more like ourselves," Hannaway says.

"Mainstream sports brands have seemingly been in decline for the past few years. There’s an opportunity and react in a way…after a workout, before you play five-a-side, etc. You don’t want to treat your body to artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and flavors.

“Also something that doesn’t taste particularly great, and can look like a bottle of antifreeze at times. We want something that tastes amazing, is all natural and has a lot going for it in terms of the potassium levels of coconut water, vitamins and that kind of thing.”

CHRIS ALSO GIVES US HIS VIEWS ON…

  • Why sports drinks have a bright UK future, despite some negative comments from a Tesco buyer at the recent DrinkPreneur Live! conference in London.
  • Overly’s positioning: A lifestyle drink that uses tongue-in-cheek, brash humor and contains high vitamin and electrolyte levels. The all-natural stevia-sweetened drink is designed to be healthier than typical sports drinks, taste better and be more mainstream in terms of packaging and appeal.
  • Backing for the brand thus far and progress with distribution, with a Planet Organic listing already confirmed.

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