The companies are headquartered on opposite sides of the Earth, but Minneapolis-based Boundary Water Brands (BWB) and Australia’s Found Beverage Co. will soon be sharing space on a Harney & Sons truck bound for New York City. BWB, which markets specialty soda brand Joia, and Found, which sells a line of all-natural sparkling water and juice products, recently signed deals with Harney & Sons for distribution in New York’s five boroughs and the surrounding metro area.
Harney & Sons markets a range of premium tea products including loose leaf and bottled drinks, the latter of which the company self-distributes within a 100-mile radius of its Millerton, NY headquarters, according to a company spokesperson. Harney’s DSD operation, which the company launched in 2008, also handles distribution for Taste Nirvana Coconut Water and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale in metro New York, where the products are sold to broad range of customers, including specialty food stores, restaurants, chain accounts and up-and-down-the-street retailers.
Harney now adds Joia and Found products to its trucks. It has also carried Spindrift, a line of sodas and seltzers made with fresh juice, in the past. Reached by phone, Spindrift founder Bill Creelman said it is against his company’s policy to comment on distribution partners.
Found, which made its U.S. debut at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show, has gained a like-minded partner for distribution of its premium-positioned products in Harney & Sons, said co-founder Mark De Luca. Packaged in sleekly-designed tapered glass bottles, the brand’s sparkling water and juices, which are sourced from Turkey and marketed with the slogan “The Age of Artificial is Over,” are currently distributed in a number of specialty and natural chains including The Fresh Market, Earth Fare and Cost Plus World Market.
In New York City, Found has distribution in approximately 60 stores and recently landed retail authorizations in Gourmet Garage and Dean & Deluca and is close to new deal with Balducci’s, De Luca said. Beginning in a couple weeks, De Luca and co-founder Onur Kece, who are currently based in New York, will accompany Harney distribution representatives on sales calls and visits to retailers in the area, with an eye on expansion and awareness of the brand.
De Luca noted that Found products, which include distinctly-flavored sparkling water varieties including Apple & Cinnamon, Cucumber & Mint and Elderflower, as well as Orange, Apple and Pomegranate juices, will also benefit from Harney’s reach and distribution in high-end retail accounts that are often managed by foodservice operators.
“They also do a lot of ‘upper market’ stuff like hotels and country clubs, the parts of the marketplace which typical DSD distributors don’t [reach],” De Luca said of Harney. “It’s a very important market for us.”
De Luca also expressed satisfaction in working with a distributor that features a small portfolio, noting that Harney only carries 5-6 brands and around 50 total SKUs. Carleton Johnson, the co-founder of BYB, concurred, noting that Harney is a nice fit for Joia, especially considering the sales team that the tea company has committed for the metro area.
“What we like are the great people and sales force on the street,” Johnson said, noting that Joia is “filling a hole” in Harney’s portfolio.
Johnsons also praised Harney’s focus on premium beverages and expertise in distribution of glass bottles, and stated that the company will carry all six varieties of Joia, a line of unique, mixologist-inspired sodas formulated with fruit, herbs and spices.