Virtue rebrands its yerba mate energy drink
November 2023 sees Virtue, yerba mate tea energy drink company, launch a new rebrand, featuring a stripped back aesthetic and an enhanced flavour profile, with a slightly tweaked and upgraded recipe that sees the full range include yerba mate. Autumn also sees the start-up brand roll out across Waitrose nationwide, where it will be included in the stores’ Meal Deal, as well as the launch of a new Virtue 12 Can Variety Pack to Amazon. Virtue is certified Carbon Neutral, with 100% organic caffeine, is vegan and contains nothing artificial.
Founded in the UK by entrepreneur Rahi Daneshmand, Virtue is the UK’s first all-natural, zero sugar and zero calories energy drink, according to the company. Harnessing the power of yerba mate tea to create a more sustained and all-natural energy alternative to coffee and energy drinks. Virtue is made in the UK and is available in three varieties: Tropical, Peach & Raspberry, and Strawberry & Lime (GBP £1.75 RRP per 250ml can).
Each of the Virtue contains 80mg of organic caffeine (similar to a cup of coffee), no sugar, no calories and nothing artificial, and they are now all super powered by yerba mate. Dubbed ‘the drink of the Gods’ yerba mate is an adaptogen naturally high in caffeine made from the dried leaves of the South American holly tree. Yerba mate is said to have the energy of coffee, the health properties of tea and the feel-good endorphins of chocolate, it provides more antioxidants than green tea, as well as 24 vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamins C and B6 and 15 amino acids.
Investment & growth
Since inception, Virtue has achieved high profile backing, and the brand secured investment from English footballer, Chris Smalling, in 2021, supplemented by a recent raise of £1.2million in Autumn 2023, which will help to accelerate business growth, with further hires in sales and marketing, alongside driving key marketing activity to increase brand awareness.
Chris Smalling, professional footballer, and Virtue investor commented, “I joined Virtue as they are disrupting the energy drinks category, with clean energy drinks that support a truly healthy lifestyle, which as an athlete, is critical. From flavour to function, Virtue is game changing.”
Virtue has seen +462% growth in international revenue in the last 12 months (Q3 FY23 vs Q3 FY22). Virtue is now sold in 35 countries, with over 15,000 distribution points globally, stockists include major international chains Casino, Carrefour and Aeon. The UK energy drinks market is worth £1.85billion (source: Nielsen, WE 23 Sept 2023) and the desire for ‘better for you’ energy drinks is growing. Virtue is the fastest-selling clean energy drink product in grocery in the UK (Strawberry & Lime 17.0 ROS, Source: Nielsen – GB Grocery Multiples – Latest 13 Weeks – WE 23 Sept 2023) and is set to grow further as desire ramps up. Virtue distribution has grown 225% in the UK over the last year with new stockists including Waitrose, Asda, Tesco and Motor Fuel Group (the largest petrol station operator in the UK).
Matthew Blake, Waitrose soft drinks buyer, says of the listing, “We’re really excited to have the Virtue Yerba Mate drinks onboard as part of our offering. The range is perfect for active adults looking for drinks with functional benefits and comes packed with natural caffeine, contains nothing artificial as well as being zero sugar or calories.”
Rahi Daneshmand, Virtue founder added, “We are very excited for this next stage of growth, as we build the market leading clean energy drinks brand. Virtue is the first all-natural, zero sugar and zero calories energy drink in the UK and we plan to make our drinks accessible to even more people.”