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Touchdown for Etienne Boulay

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Former Alouettes player Étienne Boulay, surrounded by his partner Atypique Jonathan Robin (left) and Olivier Lemire, president of Keurig Dr Pepper Canada (right). (Photo: courtesy)

Although he has never scored a touchdown in his career as a professional footballer, former Montreal Alouettes player Étienne Boulay has just landed a nice touchdown in business.

He sold his soft drink brand Atypiqe, which he founded with Jonathan Robin, to Keurig Dr Pepper Canada. Launched in 2020, this brand of drinks that specifically mimic gin-tonic, mojito, rum cola and amaretto sour is very successful. It has monopolized 42% of this market segment in Canada by being distributed only in Quebec and only in Sobeys associated outlets such as IGA, Tradition Markets or Voisin convenience store.

“It’s really hilarious, explains the three Gray Cup winner in a telephone interview. Like in football, it’s more fun when you win. And above all when we can align our values ​​with those of the company “.

Because this soft drink SME has its origins in the sobriety that Étienne Boulay had to adopt.

“I developed an addiction to alcohol and drugs after my career, she says. It was a difficult process. I went to therapy several times and have had several relapses. But I’ve been sober since January 7, 2017 “.

Not the end of his adventure

The sale of Atypique does not mean that the former security half will leave the ship. She will remain with his team to continue promoting the brand he founded. He also announced that he will not return to the WKND 99.5 radio microphone to focus more on his family and soft drinks.

“We stay busy, my partner and I,” he says. With Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, we want to grow our brand. It was scary to be separated from my baby, but we have big ambitions and a strategic partnership was needed. They have skills and resources that we will never have ”.

It believes Atypique, produced by Station Agro-Biotech in Saint-Hyacinthe, will benefit from Keurig’s distribution and marketing capabilities.

“We wanted to optimize the brand as much as possible and are in a good position to take over the rest of Canada,” he said of the transaction, the details of which remained confidential.

He touted his new partner’s vision that he understands and respects his brand.

Analogy with football

Étienne Boulay believes that his brand has progressed thanks to three key factors: the quality of the product, its raison d’etre and the needs of the market.

“A lot of people ask about their alcohol use,” he says. There are some like me who don’t drink anymore and others who want to drink less. Young people are more focused on their well-being. Some want to have the party side of a drink on a Tuesday night while still having the ability to be able to work well the next day.

He swears his drinks like his gin and tonic taste the same as their alcoholic counterpart.

“There is something wrong there, he declares. Blindly, it is impossible to know.

He sees several similarities between football and the business world.

At 39, ten years after my last professional match, I use the same skills as on the pitch: I have to work as a team, you have to adapt your game program along the way and things change quickly, because you often have to turn on a coin. from 10 cents.

“I realize that it’s not just football that is competitive; that’s the business world! “

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