Bentonville native Doug Batie, co-founder and CEO of GEN Z Water, recently introduced an aluminum water bottle with a unique design that he hopes will be a respite from the pandemic, economic hardships and recent presidential election.
Batie, Erin Campbell and Neil Mellers, all of Bentonville, co-founded GEN Z Water in April 2020. In March, the company started to sell its bottled water online and at area grocery and convenience stores.
“The interesting thing about the water category [is] it’s literally one of the most competitive categories out there in — excuse the pun — a highly saturated category, surrounded by some key competitors in the space,” Batie said. “Oftentimes, where there’s a lot of crowd and noise, there’s also a lot of opportunity.”
The team spent time researching the more than 100 water companies, including a “deep dive” into at least 30 of them, and researched companies that have been disruptors in other industries, he said. The result was they knew they needed to be unique to succeed.
Asked what makes GEN Z Water unique, Batie pointed to the bottle’s design. It includes a seal with water flowing from its mouth, penguins holding hands and talking about space, and an orangutan leaning on a radio with a rose stem in its mouth.
The bottle is manufactured in Ohio and filled with reverse osmosis water in Mineral Wells, Texas. It’s recyclable, refillable, and if lost, wouldn’t upset mother, Batie joked. The 20-ounce bottles are available online for $5 with free shipping. He said they’re also available at area grocery and convenience stores starting at $2.25 for a 16-ounce bottle and up to $2.99 for a 20-ounce bottle. The company has six employees.
Before starting the business, Batie worked for Welch’s for about 17 years calling on Walmart. He previously worked for seven years at Crossmark as a consultant for Walmart. He’s a 1998 graduate of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville.