Photo Credit: Drew Altizer
Eleven years ago, Todd Berardi, a Mill Valley native, had an idea to make a healthy energy drink. “I knew there had to be a healthier option for energy,” he said. “One that uses natural, organic and fair trade ingredients versus the artificial and synthetic ingredients that are used in typical mainstream energy drinks.” Berardi did what any savvy entrepreneur would do: he developed his own beverage using organic fair trade ingredients and no sweeteners or color. He named the energy drink Hiball, filled his trunk with bottles, and drove door-to-door in the Marina selling the product. “My first account was Perry’s on Union Street. Soon we had it in Real Foods and all the corner delis like Marina Deli, etc,” he explained to Haute Living at a recent event celebrating the launch of his latest product, a line of sparkling waters called Alta Palla. “Soon thereafter we landed Safeway nationally in 2007 and Whole Foods nationwide in 2008 and the rest they say is history!” While Berardi was able to secure the high profile sales accounts, Hiball did run into some road bumps. However, in 2012 a redesign and change of packaging caused the brand to explode. Three years after Berardi made the decision to switch from glass bottles to aluminum cans, Hiball had grown eight times bigger. Today Berardi oversees five different product lines: the original energy drink, the new sparkling waters, a high protein energy drink, cold brew coffee, and sparkling energy waters. The bearded friendly founder of the world’s healthiest energy drink is not only a well known man about San Francisco, he’s also a lovable figure on the international adventure sport’s scene. When he’s not deep sea fishing, cheering on snowboarders and surfers, or meeting farmers in places like Paraguay, here’s where you’ll find Berardi in SF.
Where were you born: Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, but I grew up in Mill Valley, CA.
How long in San Francisco: 20 years
Neighborhood: Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Cow Hollow, and now the Marina.
Occupation: Founder and president of Hiball Energy and Alta Palla Sparkling Beverages.
Favorite Restaurant: Harris’ for their amazing steaks and martinis.
Best Sushi: Zushi Puzzle now that Umami is closing.
Best Italian: Cotogna
Best dessert: Affogato at Pane E Vino
Best place for a romantic date: A Booth at Spruce Bar.
Best Sunday brunch: Perry’s on Union
Best place for a power business meeting: Le Central, The Battery or Rose’s Café.
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? The Clift, Hotel Drisco or Cavallo Point.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Neiman Marcus
Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Shreve & Co. or Barney’s
Best Spa: International Orange at the Marin Country Mart.
Favorite Charity Event: Napa Valley Wine Barrel Auction
Favorite Cultural Event: FOG Art & Design
Favorite Cultural Institution: KQED / NPR
Best Steakhouse: Harris’
Best Pizza: Tony’s Pizza in North Beach
Best Lunch: Blue Barn Takeout or Rose’s Cafe
Best Gym/Athletic Facility: The Olympic Club
Best Massage: I don’t get massages!
Best Limousine/Driving Service: Uber
Best Museum/Exhibit: The New SFMOMA
Describe your city in three words: Funky, innovative, and worldly
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: The Presidio
All-around favorite spot in San Francisco: Presidio and the Crissy Field beach.
Best Aspect of San Francisco: Our proximity to the beautiful natural surroundings of the Bay Area and beyond.