Sports drink entrepreneur on a roll

By Joseph Aldridge

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A Mount Maunganui entrepreneur is taking on the big boys of the sports drink industry.

Phill Dromgool first dreamed of producing his own rehydration drink while on a multi-day desert trek in North Africa.

He trained in food technology and knew who to contact at Massey University to develop an electrolyte drink that could foot it with big multinational companies. The result was R-Line, a formulated mix of electrolytes and carbohydrates specifically designed to aid quick and effective rehydration.

He quickly switched from powder form to syrup concentrate because it was easier to use when mixing large quantities of drink.

``Liquids retain their flavour and intensity better than powders,'' Mr Dromgool said.

``Powders lose their flavour to oxygen so by having it in the liquid you maintain your flavour, and it's just so much easier to make up.''

R-Line sells six flavours in one litre bottles (mixed with water, one litre of syrup makes ten litres of drink).

R-Line was popular with the just-add-water sports drink market and with endurance athletes.

Mr Dromgool had further endeared himself to thirsty athletes by sponsoring hundreds of events such as marathons and triathlons around the North Island.

Giving people a free sample when they most needed it was a great marketing tool, he said.

Mr Dromgool attended the events himself _ mixing the drink and networking with existing or potential retailers.

``I'd say on average I'd go to an event every two weeks, more than that in the summer.''

Such enthusiasm had translated into sales growth, with first quarter revenues this year increasing 370 per cent on the same period last year.

The company had produced 6500 bottles in the past six months and the number of retailers stocking R-Line products had tripled since September. Mr Dromgool had run the company by himself since he founded it in June 2011, but he hoped to take on staff before next summer.

``Ultimately the goal is export markets, that's where I want it to be. It's a long way off but I think I've got a product that can go in that direction.''

Mr Dromgool said lemon and lime was the most popular flavour.

The other flavours were orange, blueberry, apple, raspberry and guava flavours. A new feijoa flavour would be launched this month. 

- Bay of Plenty Times

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