In the early days of laying the groundwork for her brand, Buzzballz, Merrilee Kick received a call from a distributor who informed her that, despite having a contract in place, they would be canceling their order, asserting that ready-to-drink products were a “fad.”  In 2024 it’s almost impossible to imagine that her now iconic brand was ever in such a position, but Kick’s beverage-alcohol journey was non-linear and faced adversities known to many early-stage entrepreneurs.

Kick joins Emmett Strack and the Park Street Insider Podcast to share her journey of building  Buzzballz into one of the largest ready-to-drink suppliers in the world, operating across all 50 states and 27 countries.

Key topics mentioned:  

Top-Down Alignment:

  • One constant between brands that break away from the pack to become a beverage-alcohol category leader is a top-down alignment of goals, intentions, and brand ethos. When Merrilee Kick set out to create an iconic package, she built a team, and infrastructure that worked in unison to achieve this.

Patience as a Virtue:

  • Buzzballz did not become a category leader overnight. Kick explains why entrepreneurs should be ready to self-sacrifice and be patient while the brand builds on each milestone. She also hints at why brand-builders usually need more capital than they think to get it done.

In this episode you’ll hear from:

Merrilee Kick, CEO & Founder,  Buzzballz / Southern Champion LLC

Mentioned in this episode:


The Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM)

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