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Disrupting a Category

Have you ever gone so far down a path you temporarily forget why you are even there? It's so important to stay on the path and luckily it's not usually that hard to course-correct. This can happen in business, personal relationships, habits and even thought patterns.

It’s kind of like being in a blackout or on autopilot. One day we blink and it’s like “Whoa what am I doing? How did I get here?!”

Here is an important example of how this happened recently in my business. I’ve been developing Silverback Beverage, a drink that tastes like nothing else on the market. People ask “What does it taste like?” and it’s hard to explain. We all want to box things into categories we understand but what about when we are disrupting the status quo?

Q’s:
“Is it like iced tea?”
"Is it an energy drink?"
“Is it like kombucha?”
“Does it tastes like beer?”
A: “Well kinda but not really.”

I really wanted to provide a clear answer. In an effort to people please, I started down this conventional path and now Silverback is starting to show up in the tea category. Whoa, hold up! Yikes! This is not a substitute for your Lipton cold tea my friends.

I developed this drink in kegs, to serve on tap, and in a brewery. It is 0% alcohol and helps minimize the social stigma for people who are cutting back on alcohol or trying to stop drinking altogether. I am deathly allergic to alcohol now and it almost killed me in my twenties. I tell more of my story in this recent TedX Talk. When I first stopped drinking alcohol I was reaching for a lot of sugar and artificial energy drinks. My body was craving this stuff but I knew the ingredients were not supporting the kind of physical health or mental focus I needed to live the life of my dreams. I wanted to create something better.

I recently attended an event at Archetype Brewing (pre-COVID), one of our greatest Silverback on Tap partners. It looks like a beer on draft but it is zero proof. People love it, the staff is inspired by the story of how it is making a positive impact in the lives of consumers and also our partners in Rwanda where we source most of the ingredients. It is creating its own market demand. It is not a substitute for sweet tea or beer. The drink is providing incremental revenue and supports a diverse customer base. Guests are coming into the brewery specifically asking for this drink!

Thankfully I have been reminded of what this drink is all about and how to (re)position it through our distribution and retail partners. Now the question is “Which shelf will you find Silverback on when you look for in grocery stores”?! If you can’t find it please ask your local grocer to carry it!

Send feedback and let us know what you think and how you would describe the flavor. 

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