Celsius—which has become the nation’s hottest energy drink by winning fans at health clubs and grocery stores and on Amazon—is looking to college students for its next growth spurt. Gaining new distribution on college campuses was a major reason it struck a deal last week with PepsiCo, Celsius CEO John Fieldly said in an interview Wednesday.
According to Fieldly, PepsiCo has exclusive distribution deals with campuses that cover 61% of the nation’s college student population. “That is a huge opportunity for us,” he said. “A lot of college campuses are either Coke or Pepsi campuses, and if you are not on those two systems you can't get any availability there ... You could go through the bookstores—that is what we were trying to do—but that is very difficult. But now with the Pepsi system, we’ll be able to be in the cafeterias and the coolers and the vending machines.”
The pact, announced Aug. 1, gives PepsiCo an estimated 8% stake in Celsius for $550 million while making the drinks and snacks giant the preferred distribution partner globally for Celsius. As of the first quarter, Celsius ranked as the nation's fifth largest energy drink with 3% market share, behind Monster, Red Bull, Bang, and PepsiCo-owned Rockstar, according to Beverage Digest.