A million cans a month might have sounded like a staggering amount of Mati one year ago. 

But that was before the healthy energy drink’s creator Tatiana Birgisson won Google Demo Day and the resulting national media attention, before she secured $1.35 million in investment and a deal with Anheuser-Busch distributor Harris Beverages and before she negotiated to open her own 30,000-square-foot production facility. 
Come Monday, a batch of Tropical Mati will be brewed, mixed, fermented and carbonated using the same process that’s made the beverage fly off the shelves of Whole Foods stores across the Southeast. But rather than relying on workers at Triangle Brewing Company and another production facility, they’ll be produced by Mati’s own employees just 40 miles southeast of Durham in Clayton, N.C. 
The space seems larger than Mati might need, but Bello assured me it would be fully used once all equipment and materials are in and production ramps up.

The magic number is 9,000

Mati will be able to mix 30 barrels, or 9,000 cans of tea, at a time and then pasteurize those cans to guarantee six to 12 months of shelf life. That process makes it possible for Mati to sell in pretty much any national grocery and convenience store that wants to carry the product. At capacity, the facility can hit that one million number. And with another $200,000 investment, four million cans per month. 
But Birgisson doesn’t want to get ahead of herself. That’s still years away, she says. For now, the production facility gives her team of seven employees the ability to create the supply to meet existing demand and begin aggressive sales and marketing efforts. 

With control over production and pricing, Birgisson can begin to negotiate with distributors in other regions of the country, and offer incentives to their salespeople for bringing on more large grocery and convenience store accounts.

As for marketing, there won’t be Super Bowl commercials or other large scale tactics. Instead, look for Mati sampling at 5K events around the country, or Mati-mosas at local bars and restaurants. Improving signage will also be a priority, so customers get more information about the brand in stores.

I ended my tour with Bello with a question about what it’s like to work with someone as eager and determined as Birgisson.

Here’s how she puts it: “She is an amazing girl. She has an amazing vision of what she wants to do, and I’m just helping her to get there.”