Creating a Better-For-You Beverage Empire with Dyla Brands Founder Neel Premkumar

Neel Premkumar, the CEO and Founder of better-for-you beverage company Dyla Brands, which is now over $100M in annual revenue joins Enterprise Radio.

This episode of Enterprise Radio is in association with the Beverage Industry Channel.

Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Neel Premkumar discuss the following:

  1. Tell us a bit about Dyla Brands and how it got started?
  2. The company has certainly grown throughout the years and has found a way to connect with unique personalities. How are you curating these partnerships?
  3. What advice do you have for other brands who are looking to resonate with consumers – whether that’s through partnerships like the ones you have curated with Venus, or simply the product itself like your own unique backstory for creating Stur?
  4. What’s next for Dyla Brands? New products, partnerships, etc?
  5. You built a better-for-you beverage empire that started as a $50,000 loan from your father-in-law (his life-savings) and is now over $100 million in annual revenue and growing +25% annually. What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to grow their business?

Neel Premkumar is the Founder and CEO of Dyla Brands, where he has built the #2 drink mix portfolio in America, including Stur, Vita Coco, Crush, 7Up, Canada Dry, A&W, Snapple, Hawaiian Punch, and Jelly Belly. He is an EY Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, a Board Committee member of Human Rights Watch, and a startup investor and judge at Georgetown University, NYU, EOY, and various industry business plan competitions. Prior to starting Dyla Brands, Neel was a marketing executive at Nestle and Pfizer, and founded marketing agency CreativeHub, with clients including Unilever, General Mills, and Samsung.

Since founding Dyla Brands in 2012, the company has introduced better-for-you, innovative brands to the market beginning with Stur natural water enhancers, which he created in 2012 for his wife who was looking to drink more water naturally while pregnant with twin girls. Unsurprisingly, Neel soon found himself consuming large amounts of coffee, energy drinks, and energy shots to keep up with his on-the-go lifestyle – but over time felt it wasn’t giving him the natural boost he needed. He sought out to create a product that would provide busy people with the energy they need and ingredients they can trust.  In 2015 he launched FORTO, the world’s first ready-to-drink Coffee Shot, in partnership with Shaquille O’Neal.

Following the success of Stur and FORTO, Neel explored what the next better-for-you option could be and felt that existing plant protein shakes didn’t taste good enough to help more people adopt a plant-based lifestyle. He was inspired after learning of Venus Williams’ personal journey of facing a debilitating disease and taking control of her health by adopting a plant-based diet and creating shakes at home. In 2020, Neel launched Happy Viking, the world’s best tasting plant-based protein shake, in partnership with Williams. Neel is passionate about Dyla Brands’ creating better-for-you beverages, which are sold in over 50,000 retail stores and generate over $100 million in annual revenue.

Previously, Neel founded CreativeHub (a creative agency with clients including Unilever, General Mills, and Samsung), and he was a marketing executive at Nestle and Pfizer. Neel holds an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, a Graduate Marketing degree from The University of Chicago, and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.  He is a startup investor and judge at Georgetown, NYU, Ernst & Young, and various business plan competitions.  Neel is originally from Virginia but currently resides with his wife and three daughters near New York City. He is originally from Virginia but currently resides with his wife and three daughters near New York City.


Individual Brand Links:

Happy Viking: @drinkhappyviking
Stur Drinks: @sturdrinks
Forto Coffee: @fortocoffee

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