Taste Radio Episode 632

Nixie/Late July Founder Can’t Overemphasize The Importance Of This

+ Nicole Dawes, Nixie Beverage Co.


Nicole Dawes isn’t the kind of CEO that operates from behind a desk. 

Throughout her career, Nicole, the founder of Late July Organic Snacks and Nixie Beverage Co., has consistently stressed the importance of building brands at the store level. Being in the field yields critical information about how products are performing on shelf, she says, and also strengthens relationships with retail buyers and merchandisers.

That philosophy helped her build Late July into a nationally distributed brand that was acquired by snack giant Snyder Lance in 2014. And she’s drawing on the same playbook to develop Nixie. 

Launched in 2020, Nixie markets organic flavored sparkling water sold in 12 oz. cans. The products are distributed in 11,000 stores and the brand has become the fastest-growing in its category within the natural channel. Earlier this month, Nixie entered the emerging better-for-you soda space with a new line of zero-sugar and zero-calorie sodas. The products come in three varieties – classic cola, root beer and ginger ale – and are available nationwide at Sprouts and regional retailers, including New Season’s and Raley’s.

In this episode, Nicole discusses the development of the new soda line, why “doing what we say we’re going to do” is the key to strong relationships with retail buyers, the challenge of deciding when to accept opportunities even if you’re not ready for them and how the Nixie team works hand-in-hand with outsourced field support.

In this Episode

0:35: Nicole Dawes, Founder & CEO, Nixie Beverage Co. – Nicole talks about equating time in the beverage industry to dog years, getting consumers to switch from Diet Coke to Nixie sodas, why acquirers buy strong brands and her belief that you “can’t go into a retailer until you’re prepared to support them with what they need.” She also explains why Nixie stuck to its retail strategy despite challenges caused by the pandemic, what convinces consumers to buy its products, what learnings can be gained from testing at a limited number of stores and why she describes herself as a “adrenaline junkie.” Nicole also discusses her hiring philosophy and why it’s important for younger employees to trust their opinions and why she believes in offering help to as many other founders as possible.

Also Mentioned

Late July Snacks, Nixie, Harken Sweets