BioSteel leans into hockey with a cool flavour

The NHL's newest drink sponsor hopes the affiliation will help drive trial and retention for a 7-Eleven exclusive.

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BioSteel is marking a new multiyear partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) with an appropriate limited-time flavour.

Coming to 7-Eleven locations is a Blue Frost flavour, complete with branded NHL jersey packaging.

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BioSteel’s new deal as Official Hydration Partner of the NHL began during the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal, taking over a similar post long held by Gatorade.

John Celenza, co-founder and CEO of Biosteel tells strategy that NHL POS materials will be rolling out on an ongoing basis over the coming weeks and months. There’s a standard version that’s going into several accounts, and there’s some special programming that will debut in the Fall tied to prizing and giveaways.

“We launched Blue Frost because we know that when we have one of our partners on POS or on packaging, it encourages trial and helps provide an identity for the brand, and once someone tries our product, we have a high retention rate,” he says.

Callouts on boxed packaging (beyond “hydrating the NHL”) include that it’s eco-friendly, as the drink comes in a recyclable Tetra Pak with a plant-based cap, as well as the fact that it’s zero sugar. Both callouts are key differentiators for BioSteel, according to Celenza.

Product is hitting shelves at 7-Eleven stores throughout the month of July. 7-Eleven is supporting it with its own social plan and in-store POS. The retailer will also be adding the product to its delivery menu.

According to Celenza, 7-Eleven is a leader in launching exclusive SKUs and provides a great platform for testing the flavour, which could eventually become a permanent SKU.

“BioSteel ready to drink products launched at the start of the pandemic, so we’ve only seen an increase in foot traffic,” he says (BioSteel’s first products were powders and mixes to be added to water). “Some c-channel stores are showing up to 10% of their sales have moved to their home delivery program.”

The list of programs continues to grow, and the company says there are big plans for exclusive products and programs with retailers in 2023.

All programming and artwork is built and designed by BioSteel’s internal teams.

Last year, BioSteel teamed up with Circle K and Couche-Tard banners as two of the first retail partners to feature its new RTDs.