The 2016 Executive Excellence Awards: Kevin Klock

President & CEO, Talking Rain Beverage Company

January 28, 2016

Gianni Truzzi

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When Kevin Klock joined Talking Rain Beverage Company in 2006, it was a sturdy producer that had spent nearly two decades bottling its iconic carbonated waters in the Northwest as well as private-label drinks for other clients. Now, as its CEO, he has brought the company to a robust market position with the Sparkling Ice brand of flavored, carbonated water. Retail sales of the light beverage have rocketed from $10 million in 2010 to $500 million in 2014.

As an executive with the company contracted to Starbucks to produce the bottled Frappuccino, Klock saw how a major beverage brand could be launched. When the time came to transition Talking Rain, he made sure to define its brand in the same way, cultivating a consistent flavor profile and a health-oriented, refreshing image.

But where a brand like Starbucks could take big risks, Klock says for a small bottler in Preston, Losing money was not an option. So Talking Rain relied on partnerships with vendors and contract support to grow as its sales increased. Today, Klock marvels, We did this with essentially no capital.
Klock believes the transition to Sparkling Ice fueled a release of entrepreneurial spirit among Talking Rain employees. We unlocked a lot of the talent that was already there, he concludes.