You are here

Tailwind Nutrition rebrands as growth continues

Published November 29, 2021

A version of this article ran in the November issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.

BAYFIELD, Colo. (BRAIN) — Tailwind Nutrition unveiled a re-branding this fall as the nine-year-old company see continued growth beyond the ultra-endurance athletes that helped it get its start.

Founders Jeff and Jenny Vierling began making their own hydration mix with a KitchenAid mixer after Jeff had some bad experiences during long mountain bike events.

"At first I was just making it for myself because I wanted to solve my own problems. It didn't have a name, but I shared it with some friends around the area, and pretty soon I was meeting people in parking lots and handing out baggies with white powder," Jeff, the company's CEO, told BRAIN.

Eventually the couple went commercial with the product. The KitchenAid was replaced with an $800 mixer that could process 100 pounds of mix at time. "I saved money and got the mixer without a motor, so I had to hand crank it," he recalled.

Now Tailwind has about 20 employees and has outgrown its current 10,000 square foot facility in Bayfield, a small town about 20 miles east of Durango (a slightly bigger small town with a long mountain bike history).

Tailwind products are now sold in 37 countries. In the U.S. Tailwind sells consumer direct on its website and distributes to independent retailers via BTI, Hans Johnsen, Downeast Bicycle Specialists, JBI and Liberty Mountain. Tailwind also sells through Amazon and maintains a MAP program to protect its pricing.

Its product line includes several flavors of hydration mix (and an unflavored "Naked" mix), and a protein recovery drink mix.

The rebranding was at least a year-long process, Vierling said. Tailwind consulted with a Boulder, Colorado, company on brand exploration, and hired an Austin, Texas, company to complete the design.

Besides modernizing the aesthetics, the goal was to make Tailwind products more attractive to a wider audience.

"As we try and reach more athletes that can benefit from Tailwind, we wanted to reach people who don't think of themselves as hard core and get back to the emotions that we all feel when we are outside doing what we enjoy," he said.

The new packaging colors are warm, and the packaging has a new matte finish that is more inviting to the touch.

"The colors were chosen to make us think about those times we love, like taking a ride at sunset, or out on a trail in a forest, or high on a mountain under a dark blue sky. They were meant to evoke those emotions," he said.

Until the rebrand, Tailwind packaging and marketing promised "no gut bombs," a reference to the gut rot that some ultra-endurance athletes can experience during an event after consuming too many sports nutrition products.

"Some people take that (the gut bomb reference) to mean that they've got to be going at such an intensity that they'll get an upset stomach for this product to be right for them. They're thinking 'maybe I don't warrant this ...'"

So no more gut bomb references.

The new packaging and logo also are simpler, with a limited number of colors.

"We wanted to convey the simplicity of our products: that they are complete products where you just add water and go, you don't need to worry about four other things."

For retail display, Tailwind has a new caddy for its single-serve packets, which can be used on a shelf or next to the cash register.
Tailwind also launched a new flavor, caffeinated Matcha.

The rebranding also included renaming Tailwind's protein mix from "Rebuild" to "Recovery."

"It's what everyone called it, anyway," said Vierling. He said the Recovery mix is Tailwind's best selling SKU on its website, but is not carried by many stores.

"We're hoping that, by being clearer about what it is, that will help us reach more stores," he said.

Vierling said Tailwind hasn't increased its pricing in at least five years and hopes to be able to maintain that. Despite recent supply chain challenges he said increased manufacturing efficiencies have allowed the company to hold its prices.

"We also don't discount; you aren't going to see a 25% off Thanksgiving sale from us. We try to offer a good value all year."

Topics associated with this article: From the Magazine

Join the Conversation