Beverage Startups

9 Things To Know About Swedish Adult Brand Caliente

9 Things To Know About Swedish Adult Brand Caliente

Caliente Product Line

The Spanish language has a beautiful word to describe something warm —,,Caliente”. If you are stuck in a boreal or temperate climate zone, you can forget about warm weather for at least a couple of months. However, in 2015 the Sweden-based Caliente brand hit the shelves. This perfect innovation in the adult drink market warms your body after the first sip. One year ago, Caliente appeared on DrinkPreneur’s Product Review section, getting the highest score. Today, I have the pleasure to talk about the first year of Caliente with its founder Thomas Adner.

Caliente is a unique beverage brand with perfectly balanced flavors. How did the idea of Caliente come up?

I was working in the Middle East for many years, as head of North Africa for a supplier to the beverage industry, and it struck me that there were so many people not drinking alcohol, and so little choice of premium alternatives. And when I looked into it, I realized this was also a strong trend globally; people drink less alcohol. Also, when you look at what the alternatives are, they are still either, boring, un-healty or just bad copies.

But Caliente is something completely new! By replacing the alcohol with chili, we copy the effect of alcohol to some extent, by also stimulating the reward center in the brain. What makes Chili hot is Capsaicin, which tricks the brain to believe there is a burning sensation. This is why chili triggers the release of endorphins and you get that nice little kick.

I have to admit that the word Caliente sounds exotic. The Spanish and Swedish languages have nothing in common. Why did you choose it as a brand name?

Searching for the right brand name is often a long process, and we went through endless numbers of alternatives. When we stumbled upon the word Caliente we thought it just felt just right. It doesn’t mean spicy per se, it actually means warm in Spanish. But the word is one of those fun words that can mean many things in slang, some of them even quite provocative.

And it is also easy to spell and pronounciate in most langueages.

Caliente has been on the market for almost 1.5 years. What did the brand manage to achieve during its first year on the market?

9 Things To Know About Swedish Adult Brand CalienteWe have got amazing response, first of all in terms of new customers and sales. Shipping cases is the of course the ultimate evidence if something is working.

We have also won two big international awards, Best New Premium Drink at World Beverage Innovation Awards, and Best new Organic Drink in Scandinavia.

But the thing we are most proud of is of course the amazing review we got from you guys at Drinkpreneur, the best score you have ever given to any new product. Wow!

Right now, Caliente can be found in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Where are you planning to launch Caliente next?

We are getting a lot of interest from a number of markets, but the ones closest to launch are as widespread as India, UK, the Netherlands and Dubai. We really see evidence that this is a global concept with appeal for urban people all around the world.

Caliente is the first beverage brand to get 5 full bottles in our review article. The taste of both flavors are perfectly balanced. Was the development of the recipe easy? What kind of difficulties did you face during this process?

Getting the flavors and the balance right is always challenging, especially if you are perfectionists and has decided to work only with the best organic ingredients. But in our case the biggest hurdle was to get the chili heat level just right, and without too much chili flavor.

In order to follow up the initial two flavors, we’re collaborating with Sweden’s first female Michelin Chef, Titti Qvarnström, for development of the coming flavors. If you ask me, they taste even better!

Caliente is still a startup brand, which seems to have a huge potential of becoming a true success story. Did you expect such success during the first year of its launch?

We have been aiming at reaching out internationally from day one. But that we didn’t expect the amazing response from so many places, so quick. However, building an international business takes time, and whenever unforeseen challenges can happen, they seem to do. Running a start-up is a lot about putting out fires.

9 Things To Know About Swedish Adult Brand CalienteEvery great story has its downfall. What was the greatest difficulty faced by Caliente since its launch?

It’s a completely new kind of product in a new category. And although we think we’re really clear in our communication, it takes longer time to get the message across when you are selling something truly new and different.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to find a retailer for your product. Did Caliente have any difficulties finding ones?

At first we sold directly to urban cafés, small organic shops and restaurants. Once we had a customer base it was easier to go to wholesalers as well as talking to chains. Sometimes it was actually easier then expected. 7Eleven in Sweden is one example, we had a first meeting, where we were expecting to do some pre-selling for the future, but walked out with an agreed listing.

What advice you can give to other beverage startups?

Don’t spend more money than absolutely necessary – things always take longer than anticipated.

For more information visit re-branded Caliente website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

View all posts by Ugne Butkute →

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