October 29, 2010
THE WAR ON FOUR Authorities ﬁre away at the country’s hottest beverage.
FAST GROWTH FOR DIET ENERGY CALCIUM: WATERS NEWEST FUNCTION NACS REVIEW
OCT. – NOV. 2010 vol.
8 :: no. 7
Columns 4 FIRST DROP Is all this rebranding necessary? 6 PUBLISHERS TOAST It’s in the cards
Departments 8 BEVSCAPE BUSINESS Jamba Doubles Up; FDA Update 10 BEVSCAPE INNOVATION Food Truck Frenzy 20
12 CHANNEL CHECK Big Domestics 14 NEW PRODUCTS Jones Reopens WhoopAss 18 COOLER CHECK-IN Adina’s On Track 42 PROMO PARADE Singha Gets Artsy
Features 20 DIET ENERGY DRINKS Zero calorie propositions can build brands 28
28 FUNCTIONAL & FLAVORED WATER Calcium provides a strong framework 32 COVER STORY THE WAR ON FOUR How a growing brand’s edgy marketing may be responsible for its success – and possible collapse
Conference Beat 38 REVIEW Natural Products Expo East 40 REVIEW NACS Trade Show
Beverage Spectrum (Postal Number 024-552) is published monthly with combined issues in January/February, May/June, July/August and November/December by Beverage Spectrum Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BevNET.com, Inc. 44 Pleasant Street, Suite 110, Watertown, MA 02472. Periodicals postage paid at Boston, MA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Beverage Spectrum Magazine, Subscriber Services, 44 Pleasant Street, Suite 110, Watertown, MA 02472
By Jeffrey Klineman
THE FIRST DROP
CHANGE AND ITS DISCONTENTS THERE’S A LOT OF TALK ABOUT logos these days, after the Gap, Gatorade, and Tropicana saw major branding initiatives go south faster than a sand crab in an earthquake. It seemed like the power of crowdsourcing – the Facebooks and the Twitters and the comment boards of America – took precedence over what had been carefully organized corporate initiatives. At the same time, we’re still recovering from the political season. And that’s a time when the idea that someone would change, and then change back, what was supposed to have been a carefully considered opinion, is a quick trip to that most awful of accusations, the “Flip Flop.” And that’s the fine line that many companies walk when they try to innovate and do something new. That they’re damned if they don’t, (look at BevNET – we’ll yell about stodginess and staid corporate culture) but they’re damned if they do, because the collective wisdom of the crowd is, typically, anti-change. In fact, to draw another parallel to politics, the second change comes to the system, people recoil with horror at what they’ve done. They instinctively don’t like change in their environment, and they don’t like it forced upon them, and as we just saw in the mid-terms, when it’s what they’ve asked for, they immediately pivot and say it isn’t working. The problem is that with regard to both branding and politics, change is inevitable – it’s just how it’s packaged and presented – or hidden – that can determine the receptiveness of the audience. Politically, our country has been changing for years, swinging politically rightward even as socially we’ve swung left. Meanwhile, corporations have changed logos and design schemes for years but it’s
never been an issue; it’s only in a world where immediate objections – gut level reactions – can, over the course of a day, morph into digital petitions, that the fact of change has become a major issue. Each time it has, however, at least in a branding sense, it has hit with a thud. Which leads me to wonder what would happen if a corporation made an announcement that it was staying the course with its design agenda. That PepsiCo had said it was never going to change the lightning bolt on Gatorade, that the Gap had posted it would always keep the “blue box” or even the actual, geomorphic “gap” that defined its logo back in the 1970s. I guarantee there would have been an immediate petition for change, a collective digital howl of dissatisfaction calling for the disposal of these overly conservative values reflected in tired corporate logos. I won’t pretend to be a design expert, but, like everybody else, I’ve got my likes and dislikes. Mostly, though, I think personal aesthetics are developed environmentally as much as they are internally: that is, there’s as much to do with how the campaign is run as what it stands for. Make change popular, you can change political dialogue. Make it your boogeyman, and even if it’s needed, it can cause reactionary backlash. I ask you to consider this when you think about how to handle existing product lines and categories that might indeed be evolving. There’s a great example on my desk right now – the Mountain Dew throwback can. I’m looking at the hillbilly. He’s funny-looking. I’d buy a t-shirt that had him on it. But I don’t think anyone’s screaming to bring him back for good. There’s a lot of discussion these days about the complexity of choice, a lot of
theory that consumers might like to think they enjoy a wide variety of choices but maybe they want it narrowed for them. I think they just want to be on the side that’s winning. So when you’re looking at products that are changing, even in the littlest ways, maybe you should think about it that way – not so much whether the change itself is for the good, but whether it’s going to appear to be that way, how consumers will realize the change is happening so that they’re primed for it. You don’t want to go back: after all, flip flops are for your feet, not for campaigns.
• • • • • • • •
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By Barry J. Nathanson
IT’S IN THE CARDS
Barry J. Nathanson PUBLISHER firstname.lastname@example.org
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CARDS HAVE PLAYED AN integral part of my life. When I was a little kid, baseball cards consumed my existence, as they did for much of my generation. While today baseball cards are more of a business, collectibles for a later day payout, I remember the games we played: flipping, trading and creating all-star teams, way before the Internet and the fantasy leagues, were my passions. I never was able to totally forgive my mother for throwing them out when I went to college. Playing cards were the next obsession, a rite of passage from my high school into my college years. During that era, we passed many a night into early morning showing our bravado and competitiveness. I loved the feel and smell of those Bicycles. Ultimately, I gave it up for the sex, drugs and rock & roll of the turbulent 60’s. That was way more fun. Also, as much as I loved to win, I hated to lose even more. But for about 30 years, a different set of cards has been the mainstay in my life, my good old 5x8” index cards. Early in my career, a mentor taught me to use them as an efficient account management system, and I use it to this day. With the advent of computers all my techno-savvy co-workers have mocked my methods as fairly Stone Age. I admit that sometimes they’re inefficient, but they do continue to work even when the computers go down. Technology dependence has its drawbacks, my cards don’t. I now bring you to why I write this column. I was at the 2010 NACS trade show. It is always a great event, filled with the latest and greatest, but the 6.BEVERAGESPECTRUM.OCTOBER.2010
reason I love it so much is that I get to see hundreds of friends. It’s always good to catch up. It also crystallizes the transient nature of employment within the marketplace. As I covered the hundred-plus beverage companies, and saw old retailer buddies, I was struck by how many of the players have rotated to other companies. Almost every booth I entered had a familiar face wearing a different company polo shirt. It’s hard to track the people without a scorecard – but not when you’ve got a 5x8”. We are in a very incestuous industry; it doesn’t favor long time commitment and loyalty from either employer or employee. As is my custom, after I returned, I pulled out my cards to update them, which required spending quite a few hours looking through the names of the people and the companies I have worked with. Sadly, there are hundreds of cards in my dead file. But as I wrote down my contacts and tracked their movements, I was amazed at how many of the names cropped up again and again, on multiple cards. It was the rule, not the exception. In your day to day existence you don’t realize the magnitude of the shifting of personnel, but my exercise was proof positive, because my cards don’t lie. I’ve always valued stability. I’ve spent 18 years publishing this, the definitive magazine for the beverage industry. You all can move; I guess it’s my role to keep doing what I do, if only to serve as a clearinghouse for everyone else. If you need me, I’m here. It’s in the cards.
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BEVSCAPE BUSINESS • The latest news on the brands you sell.
Deals Tata Activates Cash for Rising Beverage Co. International beverage conglomerate Tata Global Beverages took a step into the U.S. market today by taking the lead role in a $21 million investment in Activate drinks, a fast-growing line of functional waters known for its in-cap vitamin mixture. The investment – the company’s first involving outside investors -took the form of $6 million in cash and another $15 million in financing, put Activate’s ownership into a variety of hands, including Tata, investor James Berkeley – like the Tata family a former vitaminwater investor -- and a syndicate of beverage distributors. It also resulted in a larger stake for the Eisner family of Walt Disney Co. fame, who once again put in cash. Distributors, some of whom currently distribute the brand but others, from the East Coast, where there is no current distribution, put in about 20 percent of the cash, or $1.2 million. Tata, as the lead investor in the deal, will get a board seat, according to Dan Holland, the president of Activate. In addition to helping widen the distribution and marketing capabilities of the company domestically – Activate’s goal is to be in every state west of Colorado by the end of the year, according to Holland -- the Tata investment may have international implications as well. “Everybody’s aware of the joint venture they’ve got with Pepsi to try to bring water to the world, and our delivery system is one they’re definitely interested in,” Holland said.”It was a good mix for us, a good mix for them, and if they choose to use the cap internationally, it’s definitely something to look at.” The cap system through which Activate drops a dry mix of functional ingredients into a bottle of water is just one of the innovations that Tata has looked at in recent years as it attempts to invest in nutrition and food, according to Henry “Bob” Hidell, who heads the bottled water consulting firm Hidell-Eyster International. “We’re looking for leading edge, state of the art technology for delivering healthful products,” said Hidell, who is a consultant to Tata for technology and product development. “We’re not restricting ourselves to caps such as this – we’re looking at nanotechnology as well – but we’ve got a broad view and we’re seeking products that deliver health and nutrition as well.” Lifeway Grabs First Juice. Lifeway Foods, a supplier of Kefir beverages picked up a kids product to go with its growing ProBugs line when it bought the assets of First Juice, a New Jersey-based creator of organic fruit and vegetable juice beverages for children, for $220,000. Lifeway said that this transaction, which is the company's third acquisition in four years, comes on the heels of its foray into the children's market via ProBugs, a line of children's organic kefir that are available in flavors such as orange creamy crawler, goo berry pie, strawnana split and sublime slime lime in no-spill pouches. The acquisition created new distribution channels for the existing Lifeway products – First Juice has been sold in Babies R Us and Toys R Us stores – and also began a strategic diversification into non-dairy-based health beverages for Lifeway. “Adding First Juice to our product portfolio strengthens our offerings in this increasingly important market space, provides cross-marketing and channel expansion opportunities, and gives us a strong new platform for building revenues,” said Julie Smolyansky, the CEO of Lifeway. 8.BEVERAGESPECTRUM.OCTOBER.2010
Licensing – Jamba Doubles Up
Jamba Juice may once have been known for its on-premise stores, but no longer – in an effort to realize money from the clout its name has developed, the company signed a pair of licensing deals to develop products with a pair of up-and-coming entrepreneurial beverage companies. The moves came a few months after Jamba announced a partnership for “energy juices” to be developed in combination with Nestle, with whom it had worked in the past. With Zola, Jamba is launching Jamba Daily Superfruit Shots, which will feature the designation “Powered by Zola” – an indicator that they are using that company’s line of exotic Brazilian fruits: Acai (an antioxidant booster), Cupuacu (a vitality booster) and Acerola and Caja (vitamin-C boosters). Designed to be consumed as one ounce shots, the products will be available in resealable 16 oz. packages. The shots, which are expected to launch in Jamba Juice retail stores, grocery stores, and other retail outlets, are indicative of Zola’s momentum in mainstream channels, but also show that it is reaching out to the supplement aisles in those stores. “Having a powerhouse company like Jamba getting involved with Brazilian Superfruits and at the same time recogniz-
ing our expertise in the area is something we are proud of," said Zola CEO Chris Cuvelier. The company is also taking off after Odwalla and Naked by trying to translate its core competency in smoothies to an RTD product – again, employing coconut water maker O.N.E. to provide the base for a new line of TetraPak blends. “We are delighted to partner with O.N.E. to develop such a unique line of great-tasting, high-quality, better-for-you beverages that delivers on health and wellness trends,” said James D. White, chairman, president, and CEO of Jamba Juice Company. “Coconut water, and the healthy and natural isotonic benefits it embodies, is a perfect fit for an active lifestyle brand such as Jamba. O.N.E. is a pioneer in the category and shares our values and passion for actively engaging consumers to eat well and live healthy lives.” The 16 oz. Tetra-Pak line – preliminary fl avors include Stawberry-Banana, “Super Green” and Tropical Mango – will be distributed nationally through PepsiCo and will also be available on a to-go basis from Jamba Juice stores, according to a source with knowledge of the arrangement.
FTC Update: The View From NACS It's common knowledge that the Federal Trade Commission recently went after POM for making what the agency deemed to be fraudulent health claims. The FTC felt POM’s assertions that it could prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction – among other things – were fraudulent and misleading. At NACS 2010, in the wake of this action, two functional beverage companies seemed to be mostly unconcerned about the marketing of their products and didn’t tout any recent changes to their practices. The functional water company Activate saw such regulatory action coming a long way off, according to President Dan Holland. “We knew the government was going to be getting more involved [in regulating products],” he said. As such, Holland explained how Activate tested its products with the University of Wisconsin to ensure it was making valid claims that could be supported by science – something POM failed to do, he said. Most of Activate’s beverages feature a twist cap in which vitamins and minerals are stored until the consumer is ready to mix the blend with the liquid and drink the beverage. While the company says some of the ingredients offer health benefits, it doesn’t make any sweeping claims. For instance, the Energy flavor contains B vitamins. The accompanying copy reads “studies show” that the supplement can “help provide energy to the body as well as improve concentration and wellness.” It seems that the statements might have
been written under legal counsel, for Holland further explained how Activate took responsibility for its claims and ensured they fell under FDA guidelines by “working with FDA attorneys” on the material. On the other hand, companies like iChill skirt FTC or FDA ire by registering their product as a dietary supplement, rather than a food or beverage, according to co-founder David Figueroa. “We don’t get into health claims,” he said, noting that unlike some competitors, notably drank, the company “took the mature route” in its marketing. “If we were making crazy claims,” he added,” I might have more concerns [but] no one has cautioned us so far.” The supplement contains a blend of Melatonin, Valerian Root, Rose Hips and B Vitamins which are said to help “calm the body and mind at the end of a stressful day,” according to the company web site. Figueroa said the product has been approved by the FDA and seemed to be unconcerned with the potential for legal action against the product. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue,” he concluded. Whether this will hold true going forward is anyone’s guess, but at least two companies are taking government regulations seriously. In such a competitive industry, such action may eventually help thin the crowds – across all categories.
BEVSCAPE INNOVATION • Product development & marketing news
With the proliferation of food blogs, food-related television shows and plenty of natural nibbles on offer at Expo East, it was hard to keep beverage-related discussions away from all things edible. However, rather than thumb their nose at all things that could be masticated, some beverage companies at the convention were happy to explain how they are hoping to capitalize on food-related trends – while even providing new ways for beverage entrepreneurs to market their products. From Austin, to Boston and a few locations in between, food trucks are popping up. Most mobile restaurants use Twitter to announce their daily locations, and consumers then have the opportunity to chase down the truck and order its specialty food. Of course, hungry office workers or chilled-out hipsters will need something with which they can wash down their latest trendy sandwich. In that vein, Matt Seiler of Maine Root explained how his company found an opening in this market and worked on getting their product on the Red Hook Lobster food truck. “The mindset of the food truck [community] is extreme independence, a local focus,“ he said. Many trucks also focus on “grandma’s recipes, peculiar foods. They don’t want Coke or Pepsi – [instead] freaky things will get right in there.” He added, “we fit right in.” Seiler explained the food truck with which the company works has a machine installed on the outside. Sodas are sold with this vendor in bag-in-box format and he says Red Hook in particular “loved the idea” as it allowed workers to pass cups out to customers, freeing up food preparation time inside the vehicle. Additionally, Maine Root have been exploring their stationary foodservice options by adding many of their flavors including the Black Cherry, Ginger Ale and Lemon-Lime sodas to bag-in-box formats. However, not all beverage companies are ready to take their product to the streets in such a manner, and would rather a more refined setting in which to convert foodies to their product. Ayala’s Herbal Water is trying to market themselves as
1/3 of Consumers tried a functional drink last month
The Hartman Group recently published its fourth annual Health & Wellness study, Reimagining Health & Wellness. Here are some shopper-based insights, which bode well for functional drinks:
“the perfect on-premise beverage,” according to company director of operations, Nicole Erdosy. The strategy is supported mainly by their recent promotion that invited fans of the product to suggest food pairings for the different water flavors. To complement this refined image, Ayala’s Herbal Water also aims to enter more high-end restaurants and be served tableside to eventually fill the “void between Pellegrino and wine,” Erdosy said. Of course, marrying beverages with alcohol is nothing new – just ask the CEO of Red Bull. Yet Sipp is hoping to take a page out of Ayala’s book and encourage consumers and restaurant and bar owners to use the beverages as cocktail mixers. Company president Beth Wilson-Parentice explained that while the line of delicately flavored beverages was originally intended to be for mixology purposes, they can also be sold as stand-alone products. Expo East marked the official launch of Sipp’s line that includes the blended Ginger Blossom, Honey Pear and Mojo Berry, and Wilson-Parentice is eager to explore food-related possibilities – a sensibility perhaps illustrated by the cocktail recipe cards on offer to booth visitors. Yet Wilson-Parentice might also be open to taking her product to the streets. “Any unique venue works for us,” she said, when asked about the possibility of partnering with a food truck. If bringing together nonalcoholic beverages with either, or both, the fine dining and the urban food truck can be the way forward, at least a couple of companies may be looking in the right direction. And if a beverage reality show were to hit U.S. screens, we might just have a movement on our hands.
Over half of all consumers (54 percent) say they have recently changed their views on health & wellness.
In 2010, interest in Vitamin D has exploded – 60 percent of consumers are adding more Vitamin D to their diets.
32 percent of all consumers have consumed functional drinks in the past 30 days.
Younger consumers cite stress (51 percent) & energy levels (47 percent) as triggers for changing their views on health & wellness.
The average household spends $148.48 per month on categories that have a wellness halo.
CHANNEL CHECK • What’s hot – and what’s not – in stores now. SPOTLIGHT CATEGORY
Change vs. year earlier
52 Weeks through 10/3/2010
This chart shows the performance of various line extensions of core brands from Anheuser Busch/InBev, Miller/Coors, and the rest of the big American breweries – of which there are two: Yuengling and Pabst Blue Ribbon (sorry, Lone Star. Texas is big. You aren’t. Boston Brewing is also big, but still classified as craft). Guess which big American breweries performed the best? You guessed it – Yuengling and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Still, when Michelob Ultra still outsells the output of both of those breweries combined, it’s hard to argue with the effectiveness of consolidation from a financial perspective. Still, it’s also hard to argue that both of those big breweries are seeing share declines. The craft chart – coming next month – looks mighty different indeed.
Miller High Life
Michelob Ultra Light
Bud Light Lime
Miller Genuine Draft
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Yuengling Traditional Lager
Milwaukees Best Ice
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI. Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart.
52 Weeks through 10/3/2010
BOTTLED WATER $7,694,747,000
ENERGY DRINKS $6,557,835,000
SPORTS DRINKS $3,753,868,000
TEA/COFFEE $ $2,967,166,000
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart.
SPORTS DRINKS Brand
HOT! Gatorade Perform Dollar Sales
Change vs. year earlier
Gatorade Cool Blue
Gatorade Fierce Bring It
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart. 52 Weeks through 10/3/10
Red Bull Monster Energy
HOT! Monster Mega Dollar Sales
Change vs. year earlier
BOTTLED WATER Brand
HOT! Sobe Life Water Dollar Sales
Change vs. year earlier
Glaceau Vitamin Water
Nestle Pure Life
Glaceau Smart Water
Sobe Life Water
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart. 52 Weeks through 10/3/10
NOT! Glaceau Vitamin Water
HOT! AriZona Arnold Palmer Dollar Sales
Change vs. year earlier
AriZona Arnold Palmer
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart. 52 Weeks through 10/3/10
ENERGY SHOTS Brand
NOT! Monster XXL
HOT! Stacker 2 Dollar Sales
Change vs. year earlier
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart. 52 Weeks through 10/3/10
IMPORTED BEER Brand
HOT! Dos Equis XX Dollar Sales
Change vs. year earlier
6 Hour Power
Redline Power Rush
Labatt Blue Light
Dos Equis XX
Heineken Premium Light
Nitro 2 Go
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart. 52 Weeks through 10/3/10
SOURCE: Symphony/IRI Total food/drug/c-store/mass excluding Wal-Mart. 52 Weeks through 10/3/10
NOT! Heineken Premium Light
NEW PRODUCTS • The newest options for cooler and shelf.
SODA Snow Beverages has launched Light Snow – the zero calorie version of its Snow sodas. Light Snow Natural Soda + Vitamins has B and C vitamins and is sweetened with Stevia. The first flavor available is Lemon Lime with Pure Cola and Cranberry PomRaz to follow. Initial distribution will be via independent retailers in Connecticut and Rhode Island with a larger East Coast rollout to follow. Each can is 12 oz. and will be available singly or in 4-packs at the suggested retail price of $1.25 per can or $4.99 per 4-pack. For more information, please call (212)353-3270. DRY Soda Co. has introduced new packaging. The new glass bottle design features DRY’s calorie count on the neck, and the name of the flavor in a graphic of the corresponding fruit, flower or herb on the center of the bottle. The bottles are 12 oz. Additionally, Dry has launched a new Blood Orange flavor that has 50 calories; it will be available in stores nationwide. Dry’s suggested retail price is $1.69 per bottle and $4.99 per 4-pack. For more information, please call (206) 652-2345. Hotlips Soda has released its new flavor, Cherry. This makes seven total Hotlips flavors, including Apple, Black Raspberry, Blackberry, Boysenberry, Cherry, Pear, and Raspberry. The Cherry flavor is made with cherry juice, cane sugar and water, and the suggested retail price for a 12 oz. bottle is $2.25 to $4.75. Hotlips sodas are available in Washington, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, New York and Florida. Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages has reformulated its Sierra Mist beverage. Now called Sierra Mist Natural, the lemon-limeflavored soda has five ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, natural flavor and potassium citrate. The soda is available in 8 oz. cans and 20 oz. bottles, both of which have been updated to match the new recipe. For more information, please call (914) 253-2628.
JUICE Raw Foods International has increased distribution of its 100% natural vegetable fruit juices, It Tastes RAWW. The juices are available in Better Beets, Carrot Lemonade, Cranberry Ginger and Cucumber Pine-
apple, and they are distributed statewide in Florida through an agreement with Whole Foods. The juices come in 16 oz. bottles. They are also distributed in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut, California and Michigan. For more information, please call (877)242-RAAW. Odwalla has introduced its new juice blend, Heart Health Superfood. The flavor is a mixture of apple, peach, banana and strawberry juices plus purple boysenberry puree and Concord grape juice. It also has 0.4g of plant sterols per serving. Heart Health Superfood comes in a 450 ml bottle and the suggested retail price is in line with other Odwalla beverages at $3.29. The product is available in natural food stores, select supermarkets and specialty outlets throughout the country. For more information, please call (1-800) 639-2552.
BEER Narragansett Beer has launched its winter craft brew, Narragansett Porter. The beer is 7 percent alcohol by volume and comes in 16 oz. “Tall Boy” cans. Narragansett Porter will be distributed throughout New England and will be available in 6-packs for the suggested retail price of $7.99 to $8.99. For more information, please call 401-437-8970.
CIDER Magners has brought its Pear Cider into New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Tampa and Orlando markets. The Pear Cider comes in 11.2 oz. bottles in 4-packs and singly in 16 oz. bottles. The beverage is gluten-free and has 4.5 percent alcohol by volume. To distinguish the pear cider from the Original brand, Magners has a green glass bottle with green foil. Suggested retail price for the 4-pack is $7.99, and $2.25 to $2.99 for single bottles. For more information, please call (781) 255-1290. Woodchuck Hard Cider has produced its first pumpkin cider, Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin. With 6.9 percent alcohol by volume, the cider is available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles at the suggested retail price of $10.99. The product will be available in select markets in Boston, Chicago, and Vermont. For more information, please call (802)3880700 or visit www.woodchuck.com.
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NP SPIRITS Bacardi has introduced its Reserva Limitada rum in the United States; it was previously available only in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Aruba. An initial shipment of 1,000 cases with 6 750 ml bottles per case will be sold in the states for the suggested retail price of $110 per bottle. The Reserva Limitada will be available in select wine and sprit stores. For more information, please call 1-800-BACARDI. Cordina has launched its mar-GO-rita and strawberry daiq-GO-ri wine cocktails in resealable pouches. Each pouch is 12.7 oz. with 8 percent alcohol by volume and is sold either singly or in 4-packs. The beverages are available in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, California, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Colorado, Ohio. The suggested retail price of the single unit is $2.49 and the 4-pack is between $8.99 and $9.99. For more information, please call 504-338-3800. Tequila Herradura has updated its packaging to celebrate its 140th anniversary. The Silver, Añejo and Reposado blends are all available in the new angular, square cut-glass bottle, which will first be offered in the 750ml size to be followed by the 1 L. The packaging is currently available in California, Florida and Texas markets with national rollout to follow. Suggested retail price for the 750 ml is $39.99 for the Silver, $49.99 Reposado and $59.99 Anejo. For more information, please call. (502) 774-7701. A. Hardy USA has introduced Skinos to the U.S. Skinos is a Greek liquor made from the native Mastiha shrub. The liquor comes in 750 ml glass bottles with the suggested retail price of $33.99. Skinos is available nationally in select liquor stores and is currently establishing a distribution network. For more information, please call (847) 298-2358. Diageo has introduced the Swedish Rökk Vodka to the U.S. The vodka is made with European wheat and Swedish spring water and is freeze-filtered. The original flavor is 40 percent alcohol by volume and the flavored: Raspberry, Orange, Citrus, and Apple are 35 percent alcohol by volume. All varieties come in a 750 ml bottle and are available nationwide. For more information, please call 925.283.9460.
WINE Marilyn Wines has debuted Red Dress. This is 16.BEVERAGESPECTRUM.OCTOBER.2010
a 2004 vintage Bordeaux blend wine from Napa Valley with 14.1 percent alcohol by volume. The wine comes in a 1.5 Liter bottle for the suggested retail price of $49.99. Red Dress will be in selected national distribution. For more information, please call (707) 963-5475.
TEA Cooper Tea has introduced B.W. Cooper’s Iced Brew Tea Mini-Bottles to be sold in Sheetz convenience stores across Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. Each bottle is 4 oz. and contains a tea concentrate that can be mixed with water to brew 4 quarts of unsweetened tea. The suggested retail price is $2.99 per bottle. For more information, please call (303)527-1700.
SHAKES mix1 beverage company has launched new Lean Performance shakes with 90 calories each. The shakes are designed for pre- or post-workouts and are 11 oz. with 10 g of protein and have 3 g of soluble fiber. In acaipomegranate and orange-twist flavors, the shakes will be line-priced with other mix1 products. For more information, please visit www.mix1life.com. ThinCare(TM) International, LLC and Jillian Michaels have launched her meal replacement shake, Jillian Michaels Ultimate Shake. The ready-to-drink shake comes in French Vanilla and Double Chocolate flavors and each has 180 calories and 16 grams of protein. They will be available initially in a 4-pack only for the suggested retail price of $9.99 and in Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid stores nationwide. For more information, please call (1-800) 898-5153. Abbott has launched its new Ensure shakes: Ensure Muscle Health and Ensure Clinical Strength. These and the other Ensure shakes can be purchased nationwide at pharmacies, grocery stores, drug stores, wholesale clubs and mass merchandisers, or online at www. AbbottStore.com. Muscle Health comes in four flavors: Creamy Milk Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Strawberries & Cream and Banana Cream for the suggested retail price of $7.99 for 4-pack of 8 oz. bottles. Clinical Strength is available in Creamy Milk Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla and Strawberries & Cream at the suggested retail price of $9.99 for a 4-pack of 8 oz. bottles. For more information, please visit www.ensure.com.
MILK Mayesa has increased distribution of its allnatural, dairy-free, soy-free chocolate drink made from organic cacao. Called Mayesa, the beverage is available in 62 Ralphs and 57 Albertsons stores across Southern California for the suggested retail price of $2.99 per 8 oz. Tetra Pak container. It comes in two flavors, Cacao Original and Cacao Mint. For more information, please call (760) 815-5978. Smart Balance has launched a Lactose-Free, Fat Free Milk. The new blend has 75 percent more calcium and 20 percent more protein than whole milk. The product will be sold in half-gallon cartons at the suggested retail price of $3.49 and will be available in Publix, Kroger, HEB, Stop N Shop, Wegman’s, Price Chopper, Giant Eagle and other smaller retailers as well as Wal-Mart stores in Florida, Georgia, the Houston market, and in the Carolinas For more information, please call (201) 421-3970.
feinated alcoholic beverages in January 2011. The beverages come in 24 oz. cans and are 12 percent alcohol by volume. The beverage was first introduced at the National Beer Wholesalers Association product showcase in Chicago, Illinois, and will begin shipping in early 2011 with a focus on independent package stores, convenience stores, and convenience chains. Suggested retail price will be between $1.99 and $2.99 per can. For more information, please visit www.madballr.com .
ENERGY DRINKS Jones Soda has released its revamped WhoopAss beverage. The energy drink is now available with new packaging – a 16 oz. all-black aluminum can – and has a new recipe. It contains 2.5 servings of vegetables and vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12. WhoopASs is now also a dark purple color and has a fruit flavor with notes of dragon fruit. Suggested retail price per can is $2.39 and it will be available in grocery and convenience stores nationwide in November. For more information, visit www.jonessoda.com.
Atomic Brands will release Mad Ballr caf-
ADINA Marginalizes its Doubters, Zeroes in on Success BY MIRIAM LAMEY
ON THE ONE HAND, 2010 HAS BEEN a big year for Adina Holistics. Notably, the company recently began working with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) as its new distribution partner, and at the National Association of Convenience Stores trade show, Adina Zero made its debut – a beverage geared towards the more health-conscious set. So it is certainly looking like Adina Holistics is gaining momentum - something president Norm Snyder believes is the result of the company’s fundamental philosophy of “one store at a time, one market at a time, one bottle at a time.” And it’s undeniable that Adina’s move into national retailers like Target and Walgreen’s, as well as grocery outlets like Safeway, Wegmans, HyVee, Albertson’s, Fry’s, Dahl’s, Marsh, Nuggets, Big Y and Market Basket was given a helping hand by its new distribution partner. But Snyder is adamant that Adina’s trajectory is still the same despite working with a bigger distributor than before. “There’s no change in our fundamental strategy,” he said, explaining that the move is “just an upgrade in our distribution network.” However, the returns have thus far been positive, as he says that the company has “quadrupled accounts in a month.” He adds, “30 days out of the gate, [we’ve] sold more product than our previous group did in 8 months.” That’s not to say Adina’s old distributors were ineffective; the partnerships just weren’t quite right for the company and its product, Snyder said. “[Dr. Pepper are] set up to meet our needs – the fit was much better. They’ve filled in all the [distribution] gaps in Northern California up to the border. Before, we were just in the major metro areas.” Yet no matter where the drinkers were, consumer trends overall forced the company to develop a lighter alternative to its
110-calorieHolistics offerings. Snyder cites consumer preference and market trends as reasons for the new line. “Anybody who’s big has a diet or zero-calorie version,” he said. “Look at Vitaminwater, SoBe Life Water, Fuze, they’ve all done well… [Adina zero]is along the trend that people want less calories from their beverages.” Beverage industry consultant Debbie Wildrick is in agreement on that point. She explained that the market interested in such beverages is “primarily female [and] one that’s concerned about calories.” By introducing Adina Zero, the company “can not only meet competition but appeal to more female consumers,” Wildrick said. She believes this is part of the company’s overall strategy to “be aligned with the other products on the shelf.” But if they want fewer calories, they also want to pay less. The price point for Adina continues to drop, to between $1.49 and $1.69, in an effort to juice sales. Snyder says the company’s margins can handle the price decreases, but he acknowledges that a company can become price-competitive at the cost of a premium image. Perhaps the more offbeat flavors in the works – maqui melon, black cherry and tangerine citrus – will help Adina Zero stand out from its peers, but so far the company’s already esoteric flavor lineup hasn’t put the full-calorie line over the top. And the company will not be relying on specials to get it there anytime soon, despite overall pricing cuts. “We’re not a 10-for-10 brand and never want to be. We’re premium, so there will be price separation but the new pricing will be more in line to the existing marketplace,” he said. “We’re not going to compromise on any existing product attributes or qualities.” That’s an interesting statement coming from the head of a brand that has
gone through major changes in terms of its overall conscious orientation and fair trade, terroir-based focus. Over the last three years, as Snyder and Adina CEO John Bello have slowly consolidated their hold on the brand, that focus has been diluted and the product lines, despite funky names, have become decidedly mainstream and – many say - -SoBe-esque. While that isn’t a surprising association given the pair’s past leadership of that very company, the changes have, on occasion, left the impression that the brand was foundering on the fly as it changed to try to find the market. Major changes are over, Snyder says, and the pricing tweaks are, he says, “the last major barrier to take this beverage to the next level.” And moving to this new plane is part of the work in progress that is Adina - something that may help keep the product on shelves for the long run.
A FRESH TWIST ON VITAMINS
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FAST GROWTH FOR
LIGHT ENERGY HEAVYWEIGHTS BY JEFFREY KLINEMAN Facing down a crowd of West Coast retailers in a ballroom at a fancy resort in California, Steve Haley, the founder of Celsius, which had, up until recently, been termed the “calorie burning drink” was talking about a change in direction. Haley admitted he’d spent a lot of time and money trying to position Celsius properly in stores and in the minds of consumers, but that after years of trying to avoid having it be defined as an energy drink, he was now ready to embrace that designation. Which kind of makes sense, as the product has zero calories and about 200 milligrams of caffeine. Letting consumers know that his product wasn’t just a fat-burner, but was also a workout partner and a zero-calorie energy drink, a product with a purpose for their everyday lives, he decided, just made sense. Haley wasn’t the only attendee of the Coast Brands summit unafraid to identify as a zero calorie energy drink. In fact, there seem to be new advantages in being identified as an energy drink that is only zero-calorie, or mainly low calorie, rather than having the low calorie option be served as a mere line extension. Distributors liked Haley’s message: Celsius is moving into chains across California, powered by Coast Brands’ ability to engage retailers and distributors for products that the organization believes has reached a critical stage in development, where the capital and potential are
there for brands, if only the proper connections can be made. But Celsius isn’t the only low-calorie energy brand making that connection. Xyience is another zero-calorie energy drink that is hitting its stride, ramping up sales in a big way nationally on the back of its association with the roughand-tumble world of mixed martial arts. “I can’t say enough about Xyience,” said Mark Miller of Hensley Distribution in Arizona. “We expect it to do 200,000 cases this year.” That’s a massive increase for a company that a few years ago teetered on the verge of colapse, but new leadership and a streamlined focus have turned Xyience into one of the energy drinks that distributors who have lost their connections to Rockstar, Monster and Red Bull turn to for a powerhouse in the category. “We’re doing great with it,” said Satwant “Sam” Gill of 5 Star Beverage in San Diego, with a smile that distributors only flash when the cases are flying. How has that happened with energy drinks, a category that has always stood for more – as in more caffeine, more sugar, more product, more packaging? It’s because the low calorie brands are specializing – they have grown not just as companions to their core brands but as useful parts of their own category. They aren’t identi-
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fied just as a way to avoid getting fat, but in fact as a way to help consumers get fit. Both Celsius and Xyience have a strong presence in the gym and nutritional supplement shop channels. And while they have had to share that space with other thermogenic products like Redline or even more extreme workouttype products, Celsius and Xyience have been more successful in straddling those channels and mainstream retail. When compared to edgier gym products, both have pulled off another coup by improving their flavor profiles to the point where consumers aren’t afraid to guzzle them even when they aren’t working out. That focus on flavor has broadened the potential for other usage occasions to the point where multipacks and mainstream distribution channels make more sense than they might have in the past. Since both products are strong in convenience channels – especially Xyience – the increased availability has resulted in increased usage. While those two products are creating standout opportunities for retailers and distributors to develop alternative sources of revenue to the big three, they also represent just a couple of the brands that are developing viable low calorie options for beverage sellers. A pair of other energy drink brands presenting at the Coast event demonstrated a focus on their low-calorie versions that was equal to their full-calorie lines. For example, recently-revived Kronik energy held off on the reintroduction of its three flavors until “we could get the flavor on the low-calorie right – we don’t want our low-carb drinkers to feel like they’re making a compromise,” said John Gaston, the company’s president. Meanwhile, HER energy, a female-focused product, sells more than twice as much of its 10-calorie, low-carb line as its full-calorie lemonade flavored energy drink. And it shows a focus on its consumers that seems to be as potent in its own way as Xyience and Celsius are toward workouts. The makers of HER have decreased the caffeine content of their products while pursuing affiliations with women’s charities and causes, and as a result the product is finally gaining traction after a few years of floundering. Again, with Coast brands’ help it is spreading rapidly in the West, but owner Brett Jacobson says he does feel like that’s also because marketing and promotional efforts are starting to register with consumers as well. So what does seem to be working is the use of light energy as a way to separate 24.BEVERAGESPECTRUM.OCTOBER.2010
New leadership and a streamlined focus have turned Xyience into one of the energy drinks that distributors who have lost their connections to Rockstar, Monster and Red Bull turn to for a powerhouse in the category.
a product from the mass of what is now a fairly mature category. Either by having the lightness be a part of the product’s reason for being – i.e. a workout product or one with a specific demographic focus (and yes, that works both ways, as the guys drinking Coke Zero will attest) – or by pushing flavor to the forefront. In fact, Celsius will be debuting a new set of products with sweetener-of-the-moment Stevia in the near future to combine all of those attributes in the natural channel, as well. The bigger companies have noticed that lighter products are one of the few ways to attract and retain new consumers in the category, as well – Monster’s new products, for example, have featured introductions of low-calorie alternatives to growing product lines like Import and Java Monster rather than just new flavors. That kind of staging allows the diet product to stand on its own as a viable new introduction. And those diet alternatives aren’t something that larger companies have just become aware of – sugar free Red Bull and zero-calorie Rockstar have long had adherents that encompass energy drink fans who can’t handle the extra calories any longer. But the new generation of Celsius and Xyience seems to be intent on succeeding as part of a group of products whose absence of calories is just part of their nature. And in a category that has long been the poster-child for me-tooism, that dogged independence seems to have been the catalyst for their newfound growth. •
BRAND NEWS: DIET ENERGY
BRAND NEWS AriZona. AriZona Beverages has launched AZ Low-Carb Energy Drink. The beverage contains 3 grams of sugar and 10 calories per 8 oz. serving. It also includes taurine, caffeine, L-Carnitine, Panax Ginseng, inositol, guarana, glucronolactone, milk thistle and 100 percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamins B6, B12, C and B5. The can art nods to the company’s Brooklyn roots by presenting a blue and white street–art style design. Double D. Double D Beverage Co.
has launched Beaver Buzz Stripped. The beverage is a line-extension of the original, Beaver Buzz and comes in Berry and Citrus flavors. It is available in Canada and the company is looking for U.S. distribution partners.
cooler promotion where Knuckle Up Branded coolers are provided to gyms that carry the product. The company has also launched sugar free Axle Energy in an 8.4 oz. can. XYIENCE. XYIENCE launched the new flavor of Xenergy, Xtreme Orange Fuel, at the UFC Fan Expo at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort earlier this year. The company has also signed distribution deals with Blue Coast Beverages in New England; Kimball Distributing in Texas; Louisiana-based Schilling Distributors, Champagne Beverage and Southern Eagle; and Kimbro Water in Tennessee for its Xenergy Premium and Xenergy Xtreme beverages. GURU. GURU Energy has changed its GURU
FRS. The FRS Company has updated the
packaging of its FRS Healthy Energy beverages. The cans now feature bold fruit graphics and bright colors. Each 11 oz. can contains quercetin, seven essential vitamins and green tea extract and its low calorie flavors are Wild Berry, Peach Mango, Citrus Pomegranate and Orange. Dark Dog. DARK DOG Energy Drink Company launched DARK DOG Light with Acai this summer in Austria and Sweden. The beverage has 6 calories per each 8 oz. serving. BAWLS. BAWLS has re-launched its sugar-
free BAWLS EXXtra. It contains 1 ½ times the caffeine as the original BAWLS Guarana. EXXtra is flavored with Guarana berry and has zero calories, fat, sugar or carbohydrates. Roaring Lion. To celebrate 10.10.10, Roaring Lion Energy Drink hosted the event, Perfect Score, which was a series of parties at bars and nightclubs across the country. Binary-inspired cocktails made with Roaring Lion were served at each location. Samson Functional. Samson Functional has launched its Knuckle Up Energy in a sugarfree blend. The beverage has also kicked off a
Lite packaging. The cans now prominently feature “With Stevia” on the side. GURU Lite has 10 calories and is sweetened with stevia, cane juice and luo han guo. Plasma. Plasma has introduced Plasma LoCarb Energy drink. It contains a blend of Acai Berry, Milk Thistle, Prickly Pear and Zeolite that aim to help minimize the effects of a hangover. The energy drink is low in carbohydrates and does not contain taurine. Plasma Lo Carb Energy has 20 calories per serving and two servings in each 16 oz. can. Celsius. Celsius has introduced Lemon Iced Tea and Strawberry-Kiwi flavors of its lowcalorie, pre-fitness beverage. The beverage has grown to over 30,000 retailers nationwide. Celsius recently signed with Coast Brands for increased distribution through Southern California. Monster. Monster Energy has changed the name of its Lo-Ball Java drink to Vanilla Light. It also has an enhanced flavor profile to match the new name. Additionally, Monster has launched Monster Absolutely Zero – its zero-calorie, sugar-free drink, and has introduced Import Light in an 18.6 oz. resealable can. Import Light has 25 calories per serving.
NO BONES ABOUT IT, CALCIUM WILL HELP BY JEFFREY KLINEMAN
After two years of discontent, functional waters seem to have stabilized, but things were in free fall for awhile. Maybe that’s why they turned to calcium, to build a firmer foundation. They seem to have figured it out at Cokeowned glaceau. The category leader has unleashed calcium-enhanced SKU’s in both a full-calorie and vitaminwater zero line, underscoring calcium’s contribution to bone health as one of just a few proven functionalities that consumers will quickly understand. For a brand that’s encumbered by a court fight over claims that it’s a healthy drink, the presence of such a well-recognized nutrient could be a nice hedge against any courtroom-induced loss of credibility.
both the low-calorie vitaminwaters and sobe life water 0 are posting big gains for their parent companies; stevia and stevia-derived sweeteners are helping make the shift easier for them.
Meanwhile, despite the negative publicity that vitaminwater drew as part of the lawsuit (filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest) glaceau’s brands appear to have finally found a firm floor and started rebuilding the faith that caused Coke to purchase it in the first place. With vitaminwater 10 breaking its fall and vitaminwater zero poised to start the long climb back, functional waters as a category may be on the brink of sorting themselves out. Part of the new paradigm appears to be that less is more – both the low-calorie vitaminwaters and SoBe Life Water 0 are posting big gains for their parent companies; stevia and stevia-derived sweeteners are helping make the shift easier for them. But another part of the paradigm is that, along with calcium, other next-generation ingredients are redefining enhancement. Balance Waters, for example, is using an array of herbal extracts to increase power its products, while proteins are also starting to make their way back into products
with less of the metallic taste that might have been present previously. Meanwhile, early independent pioneers, like Function Drinks, appear to have finally found some direction. Other companies, that entered the category just to be there, like Jones Soda with 24C, have given up the ghost. That leaves – as one can see from the category roundup here – just a few big brands and variety of smaller ones that are trying to establish a true point of difference. Some are doing so via their delivery system. Riding a proprietary reservoir cap system, Activate has gained a great deal of momentum, and with an infusion of cash from former glaceau investor Tata Beverage Co. intends to have a DSD network extending from Denver to the Pacific Ocean by the end of the year. Others have specific ingredients they are touting: fiber, protein, even the cooling sensation offered by Pure Cool. It’s enough to make one believe that with a little calcium, there might be some strong growth in the category yet. •
BRAND NEWS: FUNCTIONAL WATER
BRAND NEWS Elevate Beverages. Elevate Beverages’ Caf-
feine Infused Water was recently featured on season four of the Bravo show Million Dollar Listing. Each 16.9 oz. bottle contains 80 mg of caffeine and there is 14 mg of Potassium in each 8 oz. serving. AriZona Beverages. AriZona has teamed with Twinlab to produce its RESCUE Water. The Berry fl avor has L-Theanine, green tea extract and lemon balm extract. Lemon-Lime features guarana extract, green tea extract and natural caffeine. Orange Citrus has Alpha Lipoic Acid, green tea extract, milk thistle extract, and L-Glutathione, and the Pomegranate Punch contains Arabinogalactin, green tea extract and elderberry extract. Each fl avor comes in a 20.5 oz. PET bottle.
5 calories. The vitamin blends are stored in the caps as to not lose potency in the water. HINT Water. A limited edition label design for HINT’s Strawberry Kiwi flavor will be hitting shelves in November. The special label will feature Yogi bear and Boo Boo to coincide with the launch of the movie, Yogi Bear. HINT is also launching an associated multimedia promotional campaign featuring Facebook contests, advanced screenings and in store demonstrations. This event marks the sixth promotional tie-in for HINT Water. Simplifast LLC. Simplifast has launched new
4-pack formats for its Strawberry, Blueberry and Lemon flavors. The packaging is available in H-E-B stores across Texas and all Wegman’s stores across the Northeast.
Elevate Water. Elevate Waters’ Fiber Water
has been launched in the U.S. The beverage was made available by the second quarter of 2011 across the Midwest, North and Southeast regions. Each 16.9 oz. bottle contains 6 grams, or 24 percent, of the recommended daily value of soluble fi ber and the water comes in orange or lemon flavors.
C2O. C2O Pure Coconut Water is now avail-
able nationwide and is being distributed by UNFI-W, UNFI-E, KeHe, Tree of Life, and Nature’s Best. The company recently refreshed its labeling to include the tagline, “Live Rejuvenated.” C2O Pure Coconut Water also contains 293mg of Potassium per 17.5 oz. serving.
Skinny Nutritional Corp. Skinny Nutritional
Corp. has increased distribution of Skinny Water. Columbia Distributing will bring product to the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon. On the East Coast, the beverage is now available in 64 Waldbaums store locations in New York City and Long Island, and at 164 Weis Markets located throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia. It can also be purchased online at FreshDirect.com.
Mor Beverage. The enhanced sparkling water Mor has been launched in three flavors: Raspberry/Strawberry, Pomegranate/Lemon, and Cranberry. Each 12 oz. can contains a proprietary blend of ingredients including acai extract, electrolytes, ginger extract, gingko biloba extract, ginseng extract, grape seed extract, milk thistle extract, selenium, vitamin b6, vitamin b12. All varieties are calorie and sugar free.
Activate Drinks. Activate water is work-
Glaceau. Glaceau has introduced vitaminwa-
ing with new distributors. The company has agreements with Columbia for distribution in Washington and Oregon, New Age Beverage for Colorado, and Intermountain Distributing in Colorado. Activate’s fi ve flavors are Vitamin, Immunity, Energy, Antioxidant and Workout and each contains no sugar and only
ter stur-D in a blue agave, passion fruit and citrus flavored blend. Each 8 oz. bottle has 10 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin D and calcium, 20 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, and 40 percent of the daily value of four B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12). The product will hit shelves in December 2010.
Designer Whey. Designer Whey’s PROTEIN-
Alacer Corp. Alacer Corp has launched
BLITZ is available in three flavors: WTF…Orange Mango, Can You Take This...Punch, and Grip It Good...Grape. Each 20 oz. beverage contains 30 g of whey isolate, zero fat, and 1 g of sugar with 120 calories. PROTEINBLIZ also has 7.8 g of branched-chain amino acids to assist recovery.
Emergen-C Splash, a new fountain beverage. It is available in Orange-Tangerine and Cranberry-Pomegranate flavors and a 16 oz. serving contains 70 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, along with B vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes, and has only 30 calories. Emergen-C Splash will initially be available at more than 1,000 AM/PM stores.
Pure Cool. Pure Cool Pear Ginger Ice and Mojo Cool have increased distribution. The beverages are available at Whole Foods Stores in New York City, as well as in Westport, Darien and Greenwich, CT and several Whole Food stores in New Jersey. Pure Cool was recently picked up by HomeGoods with placement in distribution centers located in California, North Carolina, Connecticut and Illinois. Two new flavors of the beverage are currently in development.
Function Drinks. Function Drinks has launched two new flavors: Urban Detox Pomegranate Cherry, which contains the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and prickly pear fruit, and Alternative Energy Strawberry Guava, which acts as a time release energy drink. The company has also expanded distribution into 500+ GNC stores and the Wegmans supermarket chain throughout the Northeast.
Adobe Springs Water Company Adobe Springs is the largest supplier of bulk mineral water to the bottling industry in the United States, with a TDS of 435 mg per liter. Adobe Springs’ healthful magnesium content of 110 mg per liter is more than the combined magnesium content of the top-20-sales bottled waters in the US. Adobe Springs tastes great, and has been marketed as “Noah’s Spring Water” since 1992. The Adobe Springs are conveniently located 19 miles off I-5 in Central California.
New clients welcomed, as we have plenty of water. Call Paul Mason, Owner Tel: (408) 897-3023 Email: paulmason@MgWater.com Adobe Springs Water Co. LLC 19000 Del Puerto Canyon Road Patterson, CA 95363
OCTOBER.2010.BEVERAGESPECTRUM.31 adobesprings_spectrum_half.indd 1
3/8/10 8:37 AM
THE WAR ON FOUR
Four Loko is making a lot of people crazy â€“ is that a good or a bad thing? By Miriam Lamey and Jeffrey Klineman
It didn’t start as a chase, but it ended as one. When Beverage Spectrum started looking for Chris Hunter on the floor of NACS in Atlanta, it was to interview the Phusion Projects co-founder on a story on the phenomenal growth of the company’s Four Loko, an “energy malternative” that had, in the past year, snowballed into a major brand, giving retailers and distributors a fantastic new source of profits. Indeed, the justification for the story was in the numbers: in the last year, Four Loko’s top three flavors have sold an aggregate of $97 million, according to Information Resources Inc., making them the #3, #5 and #18 SKUs overall in the “progressive adult beverage” category. It’s an impressive set of sales
numbers that is way too low – because IRI doesn’t count sales from liquor stores, which is the home channel for the brand. The growth for those SKUs is phenomenal: with sales more than tripling in the past year, Phusion Projects is the fastestgrowing beer and malt beverage company in the country. So that’s an interesting story – but after missing connections with ownership at the Phusion Projects booth, the story shifted. What had been a “the floor’s too frenzied for us and for you, we’ll catch up later” became, over the next two weeks, a search for answers about what quickly became one of the most condemned products in America. Hunter didn’t just become hard for us to reach, he became interview number one for reporters from across the country. The reason? A spate of mid-October stories about emergency room visits, apparently the result of college students partying with Four
Loko in Pennsylvania and Washington, one that led to both the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania calling for an end to sales of the product. Meanwhile, as of this publication going to print, Washington, Michigan, and Utah have enacted outright bans on energy drinks that contain alcohol. Shortly before we uploaded the issue, Phusion Projects gave up some ground on its own, announcing it would stop distribution of Four Loko in New York State. What had been an underground, social-media fueled sales phenomenon bubbled up into plain sight, and just like that, Hunter and Phusion Projects went from a much-imitated toast of the town in Chicago – during the National Beer Wholesalers’ Convention there last month a dozen brands were on hand trying to imitate Four Loko’s high-octane mix of caffeine and booze – to the makers of a product that had been banned on college campuses across the country. As public attention focused on the product’s jumbo size, booze content and candy-like flavors, it was pilloried by the news media and by late night comedians like Bill Maher. The company had suddenly become the subject of regulatory scrutiny and all-around fingerwagging of the sort not seen since the introduction of Cisco in the early 1990s. Which seems to have bewildered Hunter, who told us, once we finally caught up with him, “Caffeine and alcohol being mixed is nothing new and novel.” But the negative publicity has hurt, even with sales on the rise, and the damage had the potential to curtail the company’s future. With its sales snowballing, Phusion Projects had been speaking with potential investors – but with the possibility looming that the company could be be regulated out of existence, they passed. Of course, no more significant a drink than Red Bull itself was partially built on the backs of millions of vodka shots. But the amount of negative publicity currently aimed at Four Loko has created the image that it’s an edgy project for young drinkers who are just plain aiming to get wasted. And that’s not just the result of the news of the hospitalizations and the realization, but also the tone of much of the social media surrounding and promoting the brand (not planted by Phusion Projects, they insist). With the brand’s massive sales momentum, it has been termed a craze – but one with scarier consequences than silly bands. “It’s one of those brands where you can stack it up and walk away,” said one Massachusetts-based distributor. But after October, it’s likely that few retailers or distributors will turn their backs on the brand again.
WORMWOOD Phusion Projects, started by a trio of 25-ish Ohio State alumni, Hunter, Jaisen Freeman and Jeff Wright, was actually part of the first wave of “energy malternatives.” That wave began in 2005 with the launch of Anheuser Busch’s Spykes, Tilt and Be Miller’s Sparks, and, later, Rockstar 21, three big-company products that attempted to take advantage of the maturation of the energy drink category and the popularity of the ubiquitous Red Bull and Vodka order and move it into a new source of revenue. Along with the big companies, there were many smaller ones, like Liquid Charge. The original Four (not yet Loko) contained 6 percent alcohol, caffeine and another surprise ingredient, wormwood oil, to provide a point of difference. At the time, wormwood was considered an exotic ingredient because it was identified with absinthe, at the time a spirit that was still banned domestically. By the winter of 2007, however, those products were pulled from shelves or defanged of caffeine – the reason? FDA scrutiny and a push by state Attorneys General to go after the big beer companies for selling products that too closely resembled energy drinks. Spykes and Tilt were caffeine-free by the beginning of 2009. The original washout of energy malternatives didn’t sink Phusion Projects – in fact, several independent brands, some of which have reappeared as Four Loko has become more successful, pressed on while the big companies retreated. But Phusion itself nearly sank because of the decline in interest in the category. By the end of 2007, the company almost went bankrupt. But in mid-2008, a heavy-duty solution came into focus, and the original Four was relaunched, and jacked up as well, as a 10 percent alcohol, 16 oz. caffeinated drink called Four MaXed. Wormwood remained. Gaining traction, Phusion launched wormwood-free, booze-heavier Four Loko, a more heavily sugared product in a 23.5 oz. can that bore a closer resemblance to a tall energy drink than previous iterations.
By the winter of 2007 many products were pulled from shelves or defanged of caffeine due to FDA scrutiny and a push by state Attorneys General to go after products that too closely resembled energy drinks.
“We like to keep an eye on trends in the beverage industry in general,” Hunter told Beverage Spectrum. “We noticed 24 oz. cans were the fastest growing out there. We took from that [observation] that it’s what consumers want.” Indeed, 24 ounces has been a major boon for many beverage companies, and not just alcoholic ones. Both AriZona Beverages and Monster Energy have gotten major traction from that can size in recent years – and that gave Four Loko an edge. The cans create their own billboard. And by ratcheting up the alcohol content – at 12 percent ABV one can contains as much alcohol as a 6-pack of some kinds of regular beer – and the caffeine, as well as creating increasingly sweet flavor profiles while keeping prices low (under $3 in most cases) has made Four Loko a buzz that younger consumers are increasingly turning to. The new line flew, increasing in sales by nearly 2000 percent in 2009. In May, 2010, it was lauded by beer industry experts as one of the few bright spots in an industry that had grown stagnant except for the craft category. “The key for our success is in-store marketing,” Hunter said. “We try to make sure that everyone knows our product is there.” According to Hunter, the beverage has risen to notoriety due to this tactic combined with word-of-mouth marketing, and the fact that, in Hunter’s view, Four Loko transcends socio-economic, gender and race boundaries. He goes as far as to point out there is “no company sponsored Facebook page or Youtube channel.” Instead, it’s a product “intended, marketed and for of-age consumers,” he said. Just with flavors and styles that appeal to the young.
SOCIAL ISSUES But if Phusion isn’t pushing the product online – and there is evidence to the contrary, according to a recent investigation by the magazine Fast Company – it is also a product whose popularity with a wired, youthful generation resulted in the creation of significant word of mouth and online social marketing phenomena: indeed, whether Phusion intended it to or not, with more than 1 million hits on some Youtube videos devoted to Four Loko, the product has gone viral. Even the Harvard Crimson – the student paper at Harvard University – recently noted that “the Four Loko craze… has swept through college campuses across the nation.” But for some, the craze appears to have turned dangerous: his fall, the beverage has been associated with out-of-control college parties and underage drinking. Ramapo College in New Jersey banned all alcoholic caffeinated beverages – name-checking Four Loko as its example in the policy – after it was reported that 23 students were sent to hospital for alcohol intoxication. Nine more students from Central Washington University were hospitalized a few weeks later. Many of the students were underage, and the police report also mentioned Four Loko, among other drinks and illegal drugs at the scene. Phusion released an official statement in response to the incidents, stating that the company was “upset” that the beverage was “abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers.” But Hunter insists that Four Loko was “unfairly” singled out. “While our product is mentioned only twice in the 44-page police report, hard liquor, vodka, rum or other alcohol is mentioned at least 19 times; beer is mentioned at least 3 times; and illegal
drugs or roofi es are mentioned at least 14 times,” according to a statement from the company. Other marketers have come to Phusion’s defense: Don Duebler of Atomic Brands, which makes Mad Ballr, said he was “pretty astounded” to see that news reports were placing the blame on Four Loko. He called the media attention a “witch hunt” for the Phusion team. Hunter noted that the case is “getting publicized but the facts are in the police report.” He added, “we consider it unfair to target our product when there’s all these examples of other things being there.” Whether it’s unjust or not, the Phusion team has a PR crisis on their hands. Nevertheless, the company is moving forward, releasing a lemon-lime fl avor and trying to circulate information on college campuses about what the product contains and what it can do – which, sadly, is considered by some fans to be the draw. And that’s why there are others who would just plain like to see it gone. One such opponent is Bruce Goldberger, the Professor and Director of Toxicology and Director at the University of Florida’s William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. “My issue with the product is that it contains a large amount of alcohol in addition to a large amount of caffeine,” he said. “It’s unlike anything else we know.” Goldberger has co-authored a study that evaluated how collegeage drinkers were affected by alcohol mixed with caffeine. The team found that bar patrons who selected such drinks were three times more likely to be intoxicated than drinkers who consumed
alcohol only. As a result, Goldberger takes the stance that caffeinated alcoholic beverages should not be exempt from regulation. “We believe that there’s no place in the market for an alcoholic energy drink, but I also believe that the FDA needs to do a better job in regulating the amount of caffeine that’s included in a product,” he said. “I don’t know what the tipping point is going to be for them [the FDA] to ban the product.”
ROAD SHOW While creating an online, underground, on-campus craze might have helped Four Loko grow its sales, it has now become something of a hindrance as the company plans to move on. In late 2009, with a few stories about Four Loko already circulating in the media, and a growing number of other studies indicating the potentially harmful effects of mixing caffeine and alcohol already on the books, the FDA launched yet another probe into the energy malternative category, sending letters to about 30 different manufacturers. And last summer, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to the FDA encouraging it to speed up that investigation. While the investigation of the Sparks and Tilt wave had stalled when the major manufacturers pulled caffeine from their products, at this point, the upstarts – like Four Loko and Joose, the number two brand in the category – had started to gather a bit of unwanted attention of their own. And that bad publicity came at a bad time for Phusion Projects, which, buoyed by its sales momentum, had begun to shop
Phusion Projects’ early entries into the caffeinated malternative catefory, Four and Four Maxed, were never able to gain the same following or scrutiny of Four Loko.
for investors. Multiple investors have passed on the deal, largely because of the potential for regulatory action by the FDA. Another company known for helping grow brands in large retail accounts also passed on the opportunity to take on Phusion Projects as a client due to the potential for regulatory problems. To Hunter, it’s a case of unnecessary persecution, and that Four Loko tries to point out its alcohol content in as prominent a manner as possible. Recently, it has also circulated a flyer on responsible drinking to college presidents. “I think we do go above and beyond what other companies in the alcohol industry do – that’s something we were doing before this press,” he said. “I think it seems there’s a different standard.” “Caffeine and alcohol being mixed is nothing new and novel,” he added. “I can’t point this out enough. As far as the FDA goes, I
can’t speculate on what they will and won’t do… we’ve provided all the info that the FDA has requested and now it’s up to them.” Right now, however, things are up to more than the FDA, as issues with potential investors indicate. With the negative publicity weighing on the brand – but the word of mouth making Four Loko even more interesting to those who have not yet tried it – Phusion Projects seems to be at a precarious point. And that’s a big change from where it was just a month ago. Just think about the evolution of this story itself. In our attempts to reach out to Four Loko in early October, we’d been looking at a simple story of a brand on the rise, one that had succeeded in taking Four, a fairly mainstream product that had struggled in the marketplace, and turning it into the edgy brand Four Loko – almost following the same arc of success that turned humble Hansen’s Energy Drink into an out of control Monster. A story that, as Hunter himself points out, had taken a small business plan from three friends and turned it into a 90-employee company with nine-figure sales. But the story turned, in the space of mere days, into one about a brand in completely different circumstances -- a tale of a brand under attack in the press, in the political world, and in the court of public opinion. What the narrative will be, following this combination of sales momentum, regulation, negative publicity, and rising consumer demand, we don’t know yet. But right now it’s hard to imagine that this particular part of the story is turning out the way Phusion Projects would have written it. •
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CONVENTION SCRAPBOOK – NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO EAST
EXPO EAST LEAVES BOSTON ON A NATURAL NOTE BY MIRIAM LAMEY
he coconut water category proved it still has momentum at Natural Products Expo East, which took place at the Boston Convention and Expo Center. Category veteran Zico was sampling its new mango flavor and will be adding a liter-sized bottle to its lineup. O.N.E released its new Kids Active beverage that blended coconut water with fruit flavors. New company
president Steve Coston said the product was launched as a way to keep “filling out the portfolio” despite the fact that O.N.E’s “mainstay is straight coconut water.” Overall, the focus remained tight on health-enhancing beverages and products. Founder and CEO of Dry soda, Sharelle Klaus explained a recent packaging redesign better illustrates the product’s low-sugar profile and short ingredient list. Additionally, Switch company president Maura Mot-
tolese revealed the sparking juice can size was reduced from 12 oz. to 8 oz. Switch is experiencing expanded distribution and will close 2010 with a “brand new,” limitededition flavor, Mottolese said. The new Salad beverage from Rob’s Really Good presented another healthconscious beverage. Company founder Rob Erlich combined spinach, celery, carrot and sweet potato juice with pear flavors to satisfy a “need in the market for something
O.N.E. released its new Kids Active beverage that blended coconut water with fruit flavors.
Vibranz, the first kombucha company back on shelves after the recall, aims to keep moving the product to the East Coast.
simple with basic nutrition.” He revealed that he is also planning a broccoli and kale beverage and a yam drink. Salad flavors weren’t the only unconventional introduction to Expo East. Mato from Harmless Harvest incorporated ingredients like Cupuacu, Camu Camu and Guarana into its coconut water-based drink. For a more traditional offering, Maine Root launched a new lemonade sweetened with maple syrup, which took home a Best New Product award. Similarly, Honest Tea launched its new caffeine-free, Lemon Tulsi Tea that incorporates the Indian herb known as “Holy Basil” into its recipe. In terms of kombucha, several companies announced they were catching up to demand in the wake of this year’s recall. Honest Tea public relations manager Samme Menke explained that brewing started up again a month ago. Tizane is reformulating its kombucha and developing two new
products, according to company representatives. Vibranz – the first company to get product back on shelves post-recall – aims to keep moving product to the East Coast. With category leader GT’s also reappearing on shelves last month (although not at the show), these developments illustrate that the kombucha category seems to be making a healthy comeback – something punctuated by Caveman Foods’ kombucha alternative, a similarly fermented beverage with a different base culture. Even water was the subject of innovation at Expo East. From Penta’s uber-purified water to the back-to-basics Summit Spring water from Maine, companies were finding ways to make it trendy. In fact, Herbal Water was showing off a recently-developed range of flavors designed to eventually enter restaurants and fill the “void between Pellegrino and wine,” according to Nicole Erdosy, Ayala’s director of operations.
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CONVENTION SCRAPBOOK – NACS
ENERGY SHOTS, MALTERNATIVES DOMINATE NACS BY MIRIAM LAMEY
alternatives are blazing a comeback trail, and we do mean blazing. At this year’s National Association of Convenience Stores convention, held in Atlanta, a large, elaborate booth from Joose and an ad-covered edifice from FOUR Loko indicated that this class of products was there to be seen, sampled and talked about. However, high-energy beverage offerings at NACS didn’t stop with products marrying caffeine and alcohol. A new energy shot, WORX, from Hansen’s Beverages aims to “go after the 5-Hour Energy consumer” and will be “one of the [company’s] most important launches” when it hits the market, a Monster representative explained. That didn’t have Manoj Bhargava shaking in the least. The 5-Hour Energy CEO – and longtime Hansen’s antagonist -- spoke
of how a recent shift in ad strategy from comparing the product to energy drinks like Monster to one that offered up 5-Hour as the antidote to that “2:30 Feeling” had only served to further ramp up sales. “I don’t think it’s a category,” Bhargava said of energy shots. “I think it’s just us, and it’s other, minor stuff.” Challenges surfaced in other branddominant categories like Citrus CSDs. For example, at the Dr Pepper/Snapple booth, the company featured the Appalachian-area legacy brand Sundrop. With slightly more caffeine than category-killer Mountain Dew, Sundrop is preparing a major rollout with MTV as a media partner. Meanwhile, at the Coca-Cola Co. booth, several tweaks to existing lines were apparent. The new calcium-enhanced “stur-d” expanded the vitaminwater portfolio and the Truvia-sweetened “rhythm” filled out the vitaminwater zero line. Additionally, Coca-
Cola is slashing Fuze SKUs, while creating a new 16.9 oz. plastic bottle. New SKUs are on tap for Powerade and the noteworthy Powerade Milk brand, which attempts to combine hydration with protein for better recovery. While not brand new, Jones Soda Company re-launched Whoopass at Jones’ gritty, urban booth decorated to match the new can design and colors – something that contrasted to the pure white of Lotus energy drink. This brand was designed for the “Apple/Entourage consumer,“ according to cofounder Thomas Umboh. Relaxing alternatives were provided by Just Chill, iChill, RelaxZen and Dream Water – the latter three in shot formats. However, a new Versus shot stood out from the crowd as a self-described “body recovery shot.” With all of the malternatives on offer, recovery seemed like a good idea.
PROMOTIONS, EVENTS, AND SPECIALS FOR THE INDUSTRY
Heineken Helps Holiday Party Planning Heineken’s new promotion titled ‘The Holidays Start Here’ aims to help consumers plan and attend holiday parties this season. Using a custom Heineken Party Planner iPhone and Android app, consumers can access party recipes and tips from chef Spike Mendelsohn, a custom Heineken music playlist and Party planning tools, such as a party registry, customized shopping list, custom designed invitations and RSVP lists that sync with their mobile phone and Facebook contacts. The program kicks off in November. Consumers can download the apps by scanning a ShotCode printed on all Heineken holiday-themed POS materials, or fi nd it in the iTunes or Android app stores. At select locations, Heineken and Heineken Light will be sampled to consumers of legal age.
Nestle Water Goes Pink For the third consecutive year, Nestlé is supporting breast cancer research with its Pink Pack program. Every .5L multipack of Nestle Pure Life Purified Water marked with a pink ribbon purchased represents $.10 that the brand will donate to the cause. This year Walmart has also signed on as a participant. For the 2010 program, Nestlé Pure Life anticipates having the retail participation to continue to fully fund a research project in 2011. By the end of 2010, Nestlé Pure Life “Pink Pack” program will have contributed over $500,000 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Singha’s Artsy Campaign
Additionally, at the annual Breast Cancer Research Foundation Symposium and Awards Luncheon on October 27, 2010 in New York City, it was announced that one of the BCRF grants of $250,000 will be funded by Nestlé Pure Life Purified Water.
Singha Beer has launched its Singha TransPortraits campaign. The initiative brings artists in front of live audiences to create works on the walls of popular clubs, bars, lounges, and skyscrapers in North America, Asia and Europe. At www. SinghaTransPortraits.com, visitors can R.S.V.P. to upcoming events, view event information including artists and venues, download exclusive Singha TransPortraits wallpapers, link and share to Singha’s social networks, and enter a sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Singha’s Ultimate Full Moon Party in Thailand in Spring of 2011. All Singha TransPortraits artwork created during the event tour will feature a country-specific QR code, which ties users back to the mobile site via smartphones. Participants can also R.S.V.P. to future events, enter the sweepstakes and view the Singha TransPortraits gallery. The Singha TransPortraits event tour will continue on to New York, San Francisco and Miami as well as throughout Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris into 2011.
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The October 2010 issue of Beverage Spectrum Magazine.