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Q&A with Reuben Rios, vice president of sales for Xyience

Reuben Rios moved to Las Vegas in 2000 to take a chance on a booming city. That chance gave him a booming professional career.

Four years after moving, Rios got an offer from the Miller Beer Co. to become its nonalcoholic brand manager to help its nonalcoholic portfolio.

After a year, Rios was promoted to off-premise sales manager where he served until the opportunity to bring in Xyience emerged.

“Xyience came to me three times with three different offers, and the third one I took,” Rios said.

Fast-forward to 2013 and Rios is now serving as Xyience’s vice president of sales. Rios has helped the once-struggling energy drink company emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and turned it into the fastest-growing of the top 10 energy brands.

All the hard work has been worth it for Rios.

“I actually love what I do. We are a healthy alternative to a growing category. It’s exciting to me what we’re doing and what we’re bringing; and actually making the (energy drink) category become legit,” he said.

In March, Xyience inked its biggest deal when it signed an agreement with Safeway and its 1,400 stores, giving Xyience a huge opportunity to grow the brand further.

What were the biggest challenges you faced helping Xyience emerge from Chapter 11?

The negativity and kind of educating distributors and chains. They were well aware of what bankruptcy was, but they didn’t have all the details. So I think the hardest part was the negativity and them not being educated enough of the process of how we actually came out, and we actually came out a way better company.

What lessons did you learn?

Just staying focused and knowing what we truly had in regards to what we were offering people that were behind us such as the UFC, the owners of the UFC and what they were doing for us to continue to grow our brand.

How has working with the UFC helped Xyience?

It just keeps on getting better and better, because UFC just keeps growing as does the exposure. I’m looking at a calendar of events of what the UFC is offering in one way shape or form. Whether it’s a Fox event, a pay-per-view event, a Fuel or Ultimate Fighter series, it’s on TV almost every week.

What does your deal with Safeway and its 1,400 stores mean going forward?

This puts us on the map big time in the grocery industry. Eighty percent of our sales now come through the convenience store channel. So if you could imagine a big chain such as Safeway with the national exposure they bring to the U.S. with us going in there. Now the Krogers of the world will take a look at us and some of these other large chains that maybe passed on us so far, they’re going to take another look.

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