The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
How did Golazo Energy drink start to make its mark on the Seattle and Washington state soccer scene? Read our 2010 interview with founder Richard Tait to see how the first sip happened.
Richard Tait of Seattle is listed as “Co Founder and Center Mid” on his brief Golazo Energy bio. The local soccer-specific energy and hydration drink began a streetwise viral campaign to get the word out about their new product back in 2010.
We were on top of the debut and talked with Tait in November, 2010. See my Q & A with Tait below.
Richard Tait: Alex Rosenast and I have been football players and fans since we were kids. We are also local entrepreneurs, neighbors and play soccer together. We have always wanted to do something together and dreamed of creating a passion brand for soccer.
On April 16th 2008 when Mexico played China in a friendly at Qwest Field in Seattle, I was watching the enthusiastic crowd gather from our offices in Pioneer Square, and was drawn in by the passion and celebration of the game we loved. The place erupted as Mexico won 1-0.
We started watching Mexican soccer on TV, and when there was a goal that made us jump out of our seats we kept hearing a magical word, one that went beyond goal, we heard the word Goooooolazo!! It turns out this word is unique to soccer and evokes the emotion we love about the game. Golazo means SUPER GOAL in Spanish. Unlike any other sport, a dunk is a dunk, a touch down a touch down, but in soccer we have a superlative for extraordinary goals, a Golazo!! We were hooked!
From the moment we heard Golazo! we set out to create products that soccer fans and players would be proud of. Innovative, yet designed to meet their needs. A celebration of the beautiful game!
In our research and when talking to soccer fans and players we discovered that people on the field and on the web were sharing recipes that mixed energy and hydrating drinks to create their own beverage– something that was both refreshing and energizing. We were inspired to think differently.
Nine months ago we started taste testing in our offices with different formulations and different tastes. We brought in soccer players and fans from all over the city and surrounding area, and from all different nationalities. Over and over again we asked, “what if?”
What if we created a new category? What if we created a sports energy drink that delivered ounce per ounce the same energy as the leading energy beverage and the same hydration as the leading sports drink?
What if it tasted fantastic, with light carbonation and a refreshing mango lime flavor?
What if you could drink it before you played, and it helped your performance on and off the field?
What if it was naturally flavored and sweetened and had no preservatives?
We knew if we could create such a product we would have something that lived up to the Golazo name, the beautiful game and the people who play it.
We dialed it in, the flavor got better, the functionality was refined, packaging was tested, feedback, feedback, feedback. The folks in the focus groups were loving it and we felt the wind at our backs, they knew that this was a brand and a beverage that was built for them.
We launched Golazo on October 31st 2010 in Seattle, “Soccer City, USA”, at the Sounders playoff game with those that love “the beautiful game” most.
How do you think you fit / want to fit into the unique Seattle soccer scene?
First and foremost we want to make them proud, proud that a company from Seattle is pursuing something with the same passion and dedication that they have for the game at all levels. Whether that is pick up at Bobby Morris, Sunday leagues at Marymoor or the passionate Sounders fans, we want them to look at Golazo and be proud that we are from Seattle, we are being innovative and pioneering, and a brand that is putting soccer first. Advocates for the amateur and fan alike, we want to be their drink; one that is clearly aligned with their values and love for the game.
Describe the development of the drink, from ingredients to taste to marketing?
First and foremost we wanted to create a great soccer product, we saw other beverage brands focused on different activities: X games, Monster Trucks, Nascar Racing, etc., but no one was really supporting the soccer community. We wanted to create something that met their needs and something they would be proud of.
We did not want to do just another energy drink. Traditionally the ingredients in these drinks scare people and they generally taste really bad, worse yet you can’t really use them on the field because they are too carbonated. So we set off to create a beverage that would hydrate and energize, taste great, have low carbonation and come naturally flavored with no preservatives. We had never seen that done before.
Lastly we knew that we had a great opportunity with the Latino community given our name, and inspiration, so we wanted to craft a flavor profile that would appeal to their tastes but also be appealing to the general public. We tested many many different flavors on both sides of the sweet and citrus spectrum, and then we found that everyone loved our Mango Lime flavor.
It was fun– some people got the flavor straight away, others thought peach, or strawberry, or fruit punch, but everyone thought it tasted great. We just received our first review and were given the highest score ever beating 43 of the top drinks in our category.
From a packaging perspective we wanted to celebrate our passion for soccer and our local roots. The can design is evocative of the lines on the field and those soccer colors of green and white. We also wanted to stay true to the everyday player.
The young man on our can (editor’s note: It is Santa Maria Rivera, also a former USL Sounder) was captain of the soccer team at Seattle University as a freshman and led them to the Division II national championship. He still lives here, plays and coaches every week, and was instrumental in some of our focus groups. He loves soccer as much or more than we do, and that is who we are, an advocate for the amateur and those that are passionate about the game.
The logo was designed by an amazing local designer named Troy Nebeker who plays goalie on our indoor team. We set off to create more than a logo, but a coat of arms for our brand that really spoke to soccer fans. Every element in the logo was chosen very carefully. Probably most importantly was the ball. Honestly it was so interesting the reaction we got when we tested with the ball and without, it was Pavlovian. Soccer fans salivated when the ball was there and they knew immediately that this was something for them. The stars are taken from the world cup and provide a sense of accomplishment and aspiration.
The shield gives that coat of arms feel, while the eagle and the snake are a sign of victory and celebrate our brands Hispanic roots. Lastly is our rallying cry of “Born to Score” which we hope resonates with that same sense of empowerment that Nike’s “Just do It” has, but for us it is specific to soccer and provides that platform for human potential. So far the feedback on the logo has been fantastic on everything from the can, to the shirts and soon on the Golazo ball.
Street Launch 2010
Golazo was taste-tested on the streets of Seattle before a Sounders FC match back in 2010. “It was massive,” Tait said at the time, “more successful than we could have hoped for! We wanted to show our support for the local fans with our collectible poster and we ended up giving away 7000 cans in just two hours.”