Any athlete understands the importance of hydration and more often than not, they rely on sports drinks for that. Considering my days out on the field have long since passed, I, like many others, look to professional athletes and sports leagues for guidance when it comes to taking care of my body. So it was quite to my surprise when learning that most of the sports drinks currently in the market are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners, including brands sported by big-name athletes and partnered with professional leagues.
Thankfully, the best-kept secret in sports is now out!
With the mission of creating a better-for-you sports nutrition product, BioSteel offers premium hydration solutions made with zero sugar, essential electrolytes, and without harmful colors or preservatives. Now partnered with some of the best athletes and professional teams, like Patrick Mahomes, Luka Dončić, Christen Press, and the Lakers, BioSteel has become one of the most trusted brands in professional sports and everyday households.
The story of BioSteel’s emergence into locker rooms across the country is actually much longer than you might realize. In fact, those with a keener eye may have noticed their favorite athletes sporting a pink drink in the background of press conferences for years already. Little did they know at the time, but what they saw in that unlabeled bottle was BioSteel’s original Pink Drink.
Dissatisfied with the inclusion of harmful ingredients in most sports drinks available to him at the time, former professional ice hockey player Michael Cammalleri, along with his business partner John Celenza, set out to find a cleaner hydration option. The result was BioSteel’s original “Pink Drink”. From there BioSteel spread across locker rooms with trainers and teams wanting to provide their athletes with only the best hydration option available. Today, BioSteel is one of the most trusted sports nutrition brands in professional locker rooms and everyday households alike.
Considering the large, preexisting brands in the sports hydration space, BioSteel’s journey to the top is by no means a typical or expected one. I was lucky enough to sit down with Co-CEO and Co-Founder Michael Cammalleri to hear more about his own story and the credibility BioSteel has garnered. From being born in the locker room to partnering with some of the world’s most elite athletes, Michael shares some great stories from the brand’s past, as well as what’s next.
BroBible: Why did you start BioSteel considering the large reestablished brands in the sports nutrition industry?
Michael: During my NHL career, I had the privilege of working with brilliant people in the industry and some of the smartest trainers, strength coaches and nutritionists in the world, and I learned that the sports drinks on the market were riddled with sugar and could be harmful to the body. That sparked a search by me and my business partner John Celenza to find a cleaner hydration option, and BioSteel eventually identified its original “Pink Drink.” Today, our team is proud to be able to say our premium hydration solutions are all made with zero sugar, essential electrolytes and without harmful colors and preservatives.
BroBible: What does “born in the locker room” mean to you? What about that concept do you think has helped give BioSteel another layer of credibility in the sports nutrition world?
Michael: Professional sports are a microcosm of the real world, and pro athletes and their trainers do all the research to make sure they’re only putting the best products into their bodies. That endorsement carries a lot of weight for health-conscious consumers. We started BioSteel with a search for a cleaner hydration solution, and the fact that we got our start in professional sports offers credibility and invites consumers to try our product themselves.
BroBible: What was the moment where you realized you were onto something with what you were doing?
Michael: We knew we had a premium product because our formula features zero sugar and essential electrolytes and is made without harmful colors and preservatives. In 2011, Gary Roberts announced BioSteel as NHL players “drink of choice” on Hockey Night in Canada. Once professional teams started choosing to purchase our original “Pink Drink” even when our competitor’s products were given to them for free via sponsorships, consumers began to see their favorite athletes drinking BioSteel across America.
BroBible: What teammate was your first customer? How did that conversation begin?
Michael: Carey Price and PK Subban were among the first from our time with the Canadiens. It always started with conversations about finding cleaner hydration solutions, and that’s exactly what BioSteel offers.
BroBible: How did BioSteel start to become popular in the NHL and then grow towards other professional athletes?
Michael: The fact that we offered a cleaner, healthier hydration option was appealing both to athletes and to the trainers and nutritionists the athletes trust. In the beginning, we were the best kept secret in sports, and our product spread by taking it to different teams and through word of mouth among professionals who were looking for their own cleaner hydration options. Once the teams started purchasing the products for players, we started showing up in athletes’ bottles everywhere.
BroBible: Now, you’re partnered with some of the best athletes in their respective sports like Patrick Mahomes, Luka Doncic, etc how did those types of relationships start and then lead to some partnerships with some professional teams like the Lakers, Nets, Sixers, Heat, and USA National teams?
Michael: We refer to our elite team of ambassadors as #TeamBioSteel, and it includes some of the world’s top athletes, including Patrick Mahomes, Luka Dončić and Christen Press. It’s important to us that our athlete and team relationships come from a place of authenticity. BioSteel athletes have been fans of the product long before the brand decides to officially partner with them, frequently requesting/purchasing their own products themselves or through their trainers. For example, Patrick Mahomes’ trainer Bobby Stroupe was purchasing BioSteel for years because he wanted to provide the best possible hydration to his athletes. He introduced Patrick to BioSteel years prior to any official deal with us, and he has been drinking BioSteel’s Sports Hydration Mix ever since.
BroBible: The LA Kings first drafted you about 20 years ago, do you ever take a moment to reflect on the success you’ve been able to have both on the ice and then also the business you’ve built today?
Michael: When I reflect, I think about the story of how everything came to life and how many people have contributed to the business and to getting us to where we are today. My business partner John Celenza and I started BioSteel in 2009. Along the way we worked with some of the best trainers, including Matt Nichol, to help find clean hydration solutions and bring it to professional athletes and eventually consumers. Along the way, we always prioritized using clean ingredients to create the best version of BioSteel we could. Fast forward to today, and we’re continuing to grow and have a full team that works across every aspect of the business. Right now, we’re focused on continuing to offer premium hydration solutions to our athletes and to our consumers.
BroBible: What is next for BioSteel?
Michael: We have new athlete partnerships that we’ll be announcing soon, and on the product side, BioSteel is always researching and testing new innovations and flavors across our product line. In addition to our existing flavor lineup, we are excited about our Sports Hydration Mix flash flavors we launched this past summer, and we have more limited-edition innovations and flavors coming in the next couple months.
The BroBible team writes about gear that we think you want. Occasionally, we write about items that are a part of one of our affiliate partnerships and we will get a percentage of the revenue from sales.