Krystal rushes energy drink to counters, skipping marketing tests

Krystal rushes energy drink to counters, skipping marketing tests

July 21st, 2009 by Anne Braly in Business

Staff Photo by Lesley Onstott George Cherry, a marketing summer intern at Krystal, sips on the new Blitz energy drink that Krystal is releasing on Monday. This is the first energy drink created and sold by a fast-food restaurant.

Staff Photo by Lesley Onstott George Cherry, a marketing...

Krystal is giving the power to the people with its new drink, the Krystal Blitz.

Krystal officials claim that the drink is the first energy drink to be introduced by a fast-food business, and is available in Krystal restaurants.

Brad Wahl, Krystal's vice president of marketing, said that the company was so confident about the product that it didn't feel the need to do test marketing.

"We watched the beverage industry and found that energy drinks were a major category," he said. "It piqued our interest. That took us the to the research stage."

Krystal contracted with Monin, a company that makes all of the flavorings for the Krystal Freezes, to develop the formula for the Blitz.

Becky Conner, director of research in the Krystal test kitchen, said it took nearly nine months to come up with the right flavor combinations.

"Monin had never done anything like this before and had to experiment getting correct proportions," she said. "We worked with them to come up with flavor profiles"

The resulting flavor is lemon-berry, a sweet-tart drink good for any time of day. Other flavors will be rolled out, Mr. Wahl added.

Blitz is a specially formulated blend of such ingredients as taurine, guarana, green tea extract, caffeine and pure cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, resulting in two 20-ounce options -- a smooth carbonated drink when combined with Sprite ($1.99) and served with ice or as a slushy frozen drink ($2.49).

"It has enough of the energy drink taste to captivate energy drink drinkers, but it's still a little different," Mr. Wahl said. "It fits our 'Nothing Like It' platform by offering an energy drink that's not in a can and has a little different flavor. We feel good about this. The timing's right, and it was pretty low risk for us."

While the company feels customers of all ages will enjoy the invigorating drink, Krystal is targeting the younger set.

"We think kids will like this option with their fast-food breakfast," Mr. Wahl said.