An energy drink that’s an organic blend of guayusa, fruit juices and natural flavors? With no spike and no crash energy? And antioxidants? Sound too good to be true? Well, MATI is a healthy energy brand containing all those good things and today, I am extremely excited to be talking with Eric Masters, the CEO of MATI.
MATI was created by a remarkable woman in her dorm room at Duke University. The student, Tatiana Birgisson, was battling depression and looking for a healthy way to get a natural pick-me-up to get through the day. There were no commercial beverages or alternatives on the market, so she began experimenting and brewing different products in her room. She tried all kinds of teas, herbs and other natural products, and when she found guayusa sourced from Ecuador, MATI was born. She quickly expanded from drinking MATI herself to fulfilling requests from her friends who were asking for batches. As demand grew, a business was born, and MATI is now available to consumers throughout the southeastern United States, online and in natural grocers nationwide.
In all of our products, we only use three organic ingredients: guayusa, fruit juice and carbonated water. MATI currently has three, 90 calorie flavors that are a bit sweeter because of slightly more juice, including tropical pineapple, cherry and blueberry pomegranate.
We make three, 40 calorie flavors which have slightly less juice, including citrus, peach mango and passion fruit.
Based on consumer interest and demand, we’re also very excited to announce the launch of three, zero calories flavors at the beginning of 2019 – raspberry mint, lemon ginger and grapefruit.
Up ‘til now, my favorite flavor has been citrus, but I love the new raspberry mint as well.
To start, MATI is the first craft-brewed, organic energy drink, with no added sugars or sweeteners in our products. We have the cleanest, simplest label on the market. In addition, the guayusa leaf is very unique – it contains theobromine which acts as a natural time release for the caffeine, so consumers get a nice, steady boost of energy and focus without any jittery spikes or crashes that they might get from coffee or other energy drinks. Finally, we have our own craft-brewing process where we carefully brew the guayusa to our own specifications and add the organic juices to get the great taste that consumers have come to enjoy.
As a startup, MATI faced all the typical business challenges in its first few years. There were multiple formulations, packaging renditions and sizes. In addition, getting a new product to market is always difficult, and forming relationships with distributors, brokers and retailers take time. We’re fortunate that MATI is such a great product that has thrived throughout the process and is now poised to be a leader in the industry.
Consumers are looking for a great tasting, healthy beverage product that will help them be their best and accomplish their goals every day. That’s why MATI has become such a popular brand – consumers don’t have to sacrifice taste, sugar contents, synthetic ingredients or carb loads. We provide a healthier way for people to get energy from an organic beverage to ultimately get stuff done. Our ideal consumer is anyone who needs a natural pick me up to get stuff done – folks at the office, parents, college students; the list goes on and on.
Eventually, international expansion is something that we will explore. Right now, there are tremendous opportunities to grow in the United States so we’re going to focus here. We are continuing to expand our availability up the East Coast, particularly in natural grocers like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, and immediate consumption occasions like at work or at cafes and restaurants.
Success requires support. Obviously, you need a great product that consumers love. But from there, success in the beverage industry requires you to build a network and support system within the broker, distributor and retailer ecosystem, whether you’re at Coca-Cola or a startup like MATI. Within that ecosystem you need build an environment where everybody is interested and excited to work with you and help you grow your brand. You really need to have all those pieces in place to reach the consumer, scale and win in the market.
For more information visit MATI website.