With a focus on natural ingredients, Rochester’s Cowbell drink is buzzing with ‘healthy growth’

ROCHESTER Working out of a Rochester warehouse, a trio of local men are seeing healthy growth in sales of their Cowbell exercise recovery drink as they create a new hydration drink to launch in 2024.

In terms of revenue and growth, we grew about 400% last year, said John Pacchetti, one of the founders of Cowbell. We were getting more cans and making a profit. It’s been fun.

Josh Grenell, Nolan Fox and Pacchetti began formulating the Cowbell post-workout drink in 2019. The bright purple cans were introduced to athletes at CrossFit gyms and other training centers in June 2022.

Fast forward to September 2023, and about 8,000 to 10,000 cans are shipped from the Rochester warehouse every month. Cowbell competes with a variety of popular drinks favored by athletes.

The founders attribute the growth to the drink’s effectiveness as well as its taste. Although it has a quirky name, the core of the Cowbell business is the healthy and effective ingredients inside the can.

We are a serious drink, but we are a fun brand, said Pacchetti. The big advantage of Millennials and Generation Z is that they have demanded more responsibility from companies in terms of brand transparency.

Looking at other recovery drinks, Cowbell’s founders noticed that the labels on some were often vague about ingredient amounts.

Cowbell includes 5,000 mg of branched-chain amino acids BCAA to increase muscle growth and decrease muscle breakdown, omega-3s for muscle recovery, and a turmeric/glucosamine blend to reduce inflammation and help prevent the breakdown of cartilage in joints.

The formula also contains 1,000 mg of BetaTOR HMB, which Cowbell’s creators say clinical studies have found increases strength and aids muscle recovery. It also contains 50 mg of caffeine from green tea extract.

A can of Cowbell has 50 calories, without artificial ingredients and preservatives. It is pasteurized, which gives it a slight carbonation.

Josh Grenell, Nolan Fox and John Pacchetti launched Cowbell, an exercise recovery drink, in a Rochester warehouse in June 2022. As sales grow, they are creating a hydrating drink to boost the brand.

File photo by Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Cans of Cowbell cannot be found on store shelves. It is sold directly to gyms and fitness studios, who in turn sell it to their members. It can also be purchased directly from thedrinkcowbell.com.

To help introduce Cowbell to their customer base, the team traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the 2023 CrossFit Games in August. They distributed 15 thousand doses. Athletes were very receptive to the ingredient transparency, but Cowbell surprised many.

We really liked the immediate and visceral feedback, recalled Pacchetti.

While the Cowbell brand continues to thrive, the founders are working on what’s next. This includes the creation of a new Cowbell electrolyte hydration drink, which is expected to launch in mid-2024.

Formulation is in process, but the hydrating drink will also be clean, without artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. Pacchetti said that although it is in the early stages, this new product could come in a few flavors and will likely be sold in PET plastic bottles.

We want to add this to our toolbox to increase brand awareness. It will be sold at a different price to our premium Cowbell drink, he said. We hope to go a little further than gyms and online. In other words, it would be nice to get something like Target or Costco.

Jeff Kiger

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, “Heard Around Rochester,” in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. My employer’s views do not necessarily reflect my views. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter at @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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