ARIZONA BEVERAGE COMPANY CONTINUED
As a thank you for this, we formed several destination meetings, hosted by AriZona, and invited accounts and “would be” accounts to get together and meet Mr. Palmer himself. The events were held at his home country club in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a shrine to Arnold Palmer and the location of his museum. This always included a session with Mr. Palmer reminiscing about his golf accomplishments and wonderful stories not often heard by the public, including his thoughts and feelings relating to golf tournaments, other golfers, and athletes he has known. AriZona’s accounts were awestruck attending the event and enjoying all the photo opps with Mr. Palmer.
Other venues included Mr. Palmer’s namesake fine dining restaurant in La Quinta, California. In the winter months of late January through February, Mr. Palmer and his wife Kit would spend several weeks at their La Quinta home located in the gates of the Traditions Country Club. The trip from Orlando to La Quinta turned out to be very special for me as I was Mr. Palmer’s guest on his private Citation 10 business jet. That day we made a stop for a special luncheon in Phoenix to meet up with the Thunderbirds association who were holding a kickoff preparation luncheon for the upcoming Waste Management Tournament.
The luncheon featured guest speakers Mr. Palmer and past Phoenix Open Champion, Kenny Perry. I was under the impression before the plane landed that this would be a lunch date, but it turned out to be an extravagant banquet held at the Biltmore Hotel with 1,000 attendees and community members involved in the tournament planning and community relations.
My partners and I are truly enjoying our success and AriZona has become a great partner. They are pleased with the performance of the brand. We are also beginning to have lots of fun as we spend time every year supporting the Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA tour tournament held at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge. We typically split the costs with AriZona, hosting a table for 10 for the week behind the 8th green as well as a small booth near the course entrance where AriZona salespeople hand out small samples of the latest flavor of Arnold Palmer Tea. In 2012, we joined the Pro/Am event for the tournament and got paired with Camillo Vijeges. We won the event as Camillo had nine birdies for us that day. Also that year, Rob Marciano, president of AriZona Sales, and I participated in the Kingdom Cup tournament hosted by Kingdom Magazine at Bay Hill and, as a two-some best ball, we bested everyone.
Back on the business side, the brand is beginning to experience stiff competition. Beginning in 2013, flavored bottled water sales skyrocketed and consumers seemed to be embracing the water refreshment beverages more and more. Furthermore, every tea competitor has jumped on our bandwagon and have their own branded half and half. AriZona’s response has been leveraging their low-cost production to compete on a price basis and create on-shelf promotional prices that are hard for a consumer to resist. The good news is that our brand demographics are mostly consumers 18 to 34, so we have a young, loyal group that will choose our brand as their drink of choice for years to come. Also, tea-based products are considered a healthy alternative to carbonated sodas, AriZona’s products are considered natural and, in some cases, sweetened with pure cane sugars. We are also considering other natural sweeteners.