Bevscape INNOVATIONS Jones Soda Founder Peter van Stolk Launches ‘The Juice Box’ Before he was selling soda, Peter van Stolk was slinging freshly-squeezed juices out of his truck in Edmonton. Nearly 30 years later, the Jones Soda founder’s latest venture is bringing him back to his juicing roots. In 2010, three years after his abrupt departure from Jones, van Stolk became CEO of SPUD, a Vancouver-based organic produce delivery business. Today SPUD employs over 350 people, bringing organic and local groceries to consumers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Victoria, Calgary, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In 2014 SPUD served as the platform for van Stolk’s entry into the cold-pressed juice beverage market. Last July the company launched its own private label juice brand The Juice Box, delivering 100 percent organic cold-pressed juices throughout Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Richmond, with plans to enter a fifth city in 2015. The brand carries 19 juices and nut milk varieties. SPUD’s private label juice brand didn’t
remain all that private for long. The Juice Box has since been made available at two of the largest retail grocers in the Vancouver area, Save-On-Foods and Marketplace IGA, as well as many of the city’s independent coffee shops. According to van Stolk, it’s slated to enter Whole Foods later this year. “It’s got such an offering that people want to sell it everywhere,” he says. “It feels good selling a product that doesn’t have Blue Bubble Gum attached to its name,” he adds, with a laugh. In addition to now selling a health-conscious beverage, another major difference from his time at Jones is that van Stolk’s now dealing with a product with a 4-5 day shelf life, and he intends to keep his juices raw. With no plans to pasteurize The Juice Box’s products in any way, including high pressure processing, the SPUD CEO says he’s in a unique position to handle the challenges of a limited shelf life. “The typical beverage model is you have one facility and you ship your product from
there across North America. Under that model, I’d have no choice but to HPP,” he explains. “But the wonderful thing is I’m a retailer, and my retail operations have their own warehouses in each location where they’ve got tons of fresh produce. So we have no plans to go HPP. The plan is to put more juicers in more of our facilities.”
DISTRIBUTION Sans Glaceau, Big Geyser Reloads As New York’s Big Geyser readies itself for a transition that will see Smartwater come off its trucks by March, the distribution powerhouse is set to add Core Natural, a new water brand headed by FUZE and Bodyarmor founder Lance Collins, to its portfolio. It will be the Northeast debut for Core Natural, which infuses trace minerals into reverse-osmosis water, creating an electrolyte-enhanced beverage that is promoted as having a “perfect pH” of 7.4. Packaged in uniquely molded 20 and 30 oz. bottles that are tapered at the middle and topped with a large blue cap, Core Natural is currently distributed in Southern California (via Haralambos), Colorado and Texas, as well as in a handful of retailers in Virginia and Arizona. Last month, Big Geyser announced its intention to cut the cord on Glaceau brands, informing suppliers that it would drop Vitaminwater and Smartwater from its portfolio by March 1. For Big Geyser, the largest independent beverage distributor in New York, the move was seen as a response to a sustained decline in sales and market share of Vitaminwater amid booming growth for Sparkling Ice and Monster Energy, which the company added to its trucks two years ago. 12 MARCH 2015 BEVNET MAGAZINE
Smartwater, on the other hand, is growing at a torrid pace (according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research company, sales of the brand in measured channels are up nearly 17 percent over a 52 week period ending on Dec. 28). Big Geyser was expected to lean heavily on Essentia, the fast-growing alkaline water brand, to fill in some of the gaps left by Smartwater. Nevertheless, it’s clear that by dropping the Glaceau brand, Big Geyser would take a hit. The addition of Core Natural now gives the distributor a twohorse stable of premium water brands to tackle metro New York.
The March 2015 issue of BevNET Magazine.