Beverage Business INSIGHTS:
Tho it came in as investor just last summer (BBI, Jul 6), First Beverage team already has helped rev things into higher gear at organic juice marketer Purity Organic. SF co is readying sweeping packaging revamp, launching coconut water and stepping up geographic expansion.
Encountered at Fancy Food, co’s youthful vp sales and marketing, Dave Minnick, said he’s been working closely with First Bev advisor and Nantucket Nectars founder Tom First and Brooklyn-based designer to rethink brand’s look and messaging. Now it’s about to move from 16-oz bottle to proprietary, panelless 16.9-oz pack with larger label to support new look that dials up size of fruit depicted in brand’s trademark grid and Purity brand name, while also better segmenting line by flavor and other attributes. While fruit images retain general grid look, fruits are now slightly offset to offer subtle energy to look. Name endings like “ade,” “nectar” and “plus” get boldfaced to further ease IDing of subline at shelf.
Entering packaging mix is 12-oz PET bottle that will host co’s first foray into orange juice, with 100% organic liquid, as well as well-regarded Pressed Apple sku and Cranberry that will be moved exclusively to small pack. Should be perfect for schools and foodservice as well as general retail, Dave figures. And co is broadening into healthy snacks by doing baked apple chip in 1-oz packs, at request for big customer. If it works, it will be expanded.
Also new in product mix is coconut water, in 17-oz aseptic pack with striking silhouette image of coconut harvester climbing tree trunk. Entry seeks to stand out as rare certified-organic line; recall that among major players, ONE had hoped to have organic juice in place last year but that never materialized.
Co finally is ready to add East Coast copacker, Castle, outside Pittsburgh. And it’s broadening distribution, adding such Northeast markets as Boston (via Great State) and RI (via Bayside) as well as Hawaii (Kahuna) and markets in Midwest.
Recall that Purity Organic is unit of largest marketer of organic tree fruit, founded by Greg Holzman. His partners/advisors in effort include 2 other ex-New Yorkers who’d launched Amoeba Records chain and Escape from New York pizza chain, respectively. First Bev tie brings range of hands-on expertise, with First and Josh Groff, a former Miller Brewing and Jones Soda exec, taking hands-on role. “First Beverage brought a lot to the table beyond capital,” Minnick noted. Joked Purity Organic partner Mike Boyden, the Amoeba Records founder: “We talk to Tom First, Dave second.”