ECRM CBD Retail Success: Yesway, BettermentRS, DEFY & Kill Cliff  12/23/2020

As a part of its continuing effort to focus on its customers’ wellness needs, Yesway is upping its CBD game with 14 new SKUs across four new brands in the packaged beverage category, including DEFY, KILL CLIFF, Weller and CBD Living Sparkling Water. Two of the brands, DEFY and Kill Cliff, were actually discovered at ECRM’s CBD Food & Beverage Program held last November in Cape Coral, Fla. 

“CBD is yet another example of Yesway’s continued dedication to introducing health and wellness products to our customers,” says Alan Adato, Merchandising and Procurement Manager for Yesway. “Further, it is important to our social commitment to bringing health and wellness items, in a meaningful way, to areas that do not have easy access to these products.”

Yesway, the Ft. Worth, Texas-based convenience store chain with more than 400 stores across nine states, partnered with wellness distributor BettermentRS to provide it with procurement, distribution, and training in the CBD space. BettermentRS provides complete infrastructure solutions for both CBD manufacturers and retailers, and President Dorsey Sparks met with dozens of CBD brands during the ECRM program.

“BettermentRS has participated in multiple ECRM sessions, and they have consistently proven to be a great way to get a feel for what is trending in the industry,” says Sparks. “Meeting with so many suppliers in a short period of time makes it easier to note points of differentiation in a particular product category, and two of our most recent beverage introductions into Yesway stores came from this ECRM session.”

KILL CLIFF CBD is a hemp-infused recovery drink developed to deliver hydration, replenishment and the functional benefits of CBD, and was founded and created by a Navy SEAL with the mission of giving back to the community. 

Available in five flavors, each 12-ounce can contains 125mg of hemp extract yielding 25mg of broad-spectrum CBD in a clean and all-natural hydrating beverage. The formula provides the added benefits of B vitamins and minerals, electrolytes (sodium and potassium), and includes ginger root extract, taurine, inositol, and green tea extract.

The Kill Cliff flavors selected for Yesway’s assortment were CBD Orange Kush, CBD Mango Tango and CBD The G.O.A.T.

One of the three flavors of Kill Cliff CBD that were picked up by Yesway

"In November 2019 we attended the ECRM CBD Program and had the opportunity to meet with a number of retailers over three days," says Gene LaPine, VP of Sales for Kill Cliff. "It gave us the opportunity to share the Kill Cliff story with buyers and explain why we added the CBD line into our portfolio of clean energy drinks. For Kill Cliff, it is incredibly impactful to get in person with our potential buyers, to share our passion about the benefits and efficacy of our beverages, and to explain why we do not play into the bigger cannabis culture."

DEFY’s line of athletic performance drinks in Lemonade, Mixed Berry, and Orange Mango flavors was developed to aid in optimal hydration with coconut water and electrolytes, potassium and vitamins, and is gluten, dairy and soy free with no artificial colors, and only natural flavors and sweeteners. It uses patented technologies to ensure optimal absorption, and deliver increased bioavailability of ingredients with maximum benefit, according to the cmpany. 

In addition, DEFY was the 1st Place Buyers Choice Award winner for that CBD Food & Beverage session (see below for ECRM VP of Content Joseph Tarnowski’s video interviews recorded during the 2019 program with DEFY CEO Megan Bushell and NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, who is a partner with the company).

Yesway’s current CBD offerings include supplements, topicals, shots, confectionery, smoking and non-smoking, and packaged beverages.

ECRM Interview with DEFY's Megan Bushell

ECRM Interview with DEFY's Terrell Davis

ECRM’s CBD sessions for 2021 include:


Sarah Davidson

SVP of Grocery

Sarah Davidson is ECRM's SVP of Grocery, and can be reached at 440-542-3033

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