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    Circle K Aims for Universal Appeal with Energy Drinks

    Wholly owned, proprietary energy drink line was developed to complement the cooler's offerings, according to Russ Kidd, senior category manager for packaged beverages.

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Alimentation Couche-Tard's Circle K Southeast Division, operator of 366 convenience stores, recently launched the division's first wholly owned, proprietary energy beverage, GazZu. It was created in partnership with independent energy drink producer BooKoo Energy, in an effort to appeal to all its customers with a first-rate offering and complement the cooler's existing selection.

    "We knew that there was all these entries into the energy drink category. There's a lot of great ones, a lot of great brands. We knew if we were going to do proprietary, we would have to stand up to the best out there," Russ Kidd, senior category manager of packaged beverages for Circle K Southeast, told CSNews Online.

    To do that, Circle K invested money into the drink's packaging. "We did not want this private label to look like a private label," said Kidd. "We spent the extra money and effort to design the can, and create a first-class looking package."

    Circle K wanted a 16-ounce can with a name that would "transcend both genders," and "not be offensive to anyone," he said. When asked where the GazZu name originated, Kidd told CSNews Online it was a long story.

    "We went through probably 200 names and nothing really turned us on, so to speak. We came up with GazZu just kidding around," he said. "You remember the Martian on 'The Flintstones' -- his name was Gazoo. He was out of this world, and we were basing everything on a drink from out of this world. Someone mentioned his name and someone else said 'Gazoo, that's a cool name.'"

    The drink is offered in three flavors, regular energy (citrus), cherry and orange-mango -- all of which were tested by 400 consumers, 80 percent of which were 30 or older -- before the launch, he said. The No. 1 flavor was citrus, followed by orange-mango and cherry.

    "We wanted a wholly owned, 100-percent proprietary energy drink, not to compete -- but to complement -- the entire category," said Kidd.

    For more information on Circle K Southeast's proprietary GazZu beverage, see the Nov. 19 issue of Convenience Store News.

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