Juice Giant Bolthouse Launches Water Line

Attempting to diversify beyond its strong suite of fresh juices, Bolthouse Farms has launched a flavored water brand called Aura, and it’s got a big client already: Target stores are expected to begin carrying the three-sku line in May, Bolthouse Senior VP Bryan Reese confirmed.

The Bolthouse brand took beverage marketers by surprise by making a run at a premium juice blend space that had once been ceded largely to Naked and Odwalla.

As the category grew, the company, which had once been a maker of baby carrots, grew with it, providing a third — and in some cases, second — option to the other high-ring products that have rapidly gained footage in the produce department in recent years.

And while Bolthouse quickly went beyond carrot juice blends to logical additions like protein drinks, acai, and most recently a yogurt smoothie, the idea of an enhanced water is, admittedly, something of a departure.

“As much as consumers like all-natural premium juices, there’s a calorie load,” Reese said. The new refrigerated product will put a refreshment-oriented, lighter product in the produce section, where only a few competitors lurk, like Pom Tea and coconut water.

Aura, a stevia-sweetened “botanical” water that lies somewhere at the junction of Ayala and Adina, will debut in three flavors: Cucumber Lemon Rosemary, Grapefruit Sage and Orange Basil, with each bottle boasting what the marketer calls “an entire serving of fruit.” Note that the botanical element comes with the pairing of an herb with a fruit in each variety. The Grapefruit Sage carries about 90 calories of juice in a 16 oz. bottle, along with heavy vitamin C and potassium doses.

Notably missing from each bottle? Any association with Bolthouse Farms.

“We wanted to totally distinguish the product,” Reese said. “We didn’t want it to feel like just another flavor.”