Spring Cleaning After Expo West 2014

When you’re covering a show that crams nearly 70,000 people, including many with beverage news, it can be easy to pass something significant without a second look. The following list is written so, for the most part, that doesn’t happen.

Ordered alphabetically, Z-A, by company:

  • TumericALIVE is redefining the yerba maté drinker. When you think of yerba maté loyalists, hard-hitting athletes don’t typically come to mind. Yet, despite the mellow-maté-drinker stereotype, NFL players have been drinking PurePRANA by TumericALIVE for recovery and energy, according to the company. PurePRANA is a concentrate of the company’s 12 oz. Original Elixir and includes ayurvedic herbs tulsi and ashwagandha, as well as yerba mate and coconut oil.  The company also recently signed distribution deals with Sprouts and Safeway in the Midwest.

  • Third Street‘s deep ties with Whole Foods continue to strengthen, as seen by Third Street’s debut of seven teas and two lemonades. Exclusive to Whole Foods nationwide in April — and developed under the close supervision of that chain’s main global and regional buyers — the 14 oz. bottles are USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified and gluten-free. The black and green teas come from Nilgiri, India, and are then brewed in Colorado. The black tea comes in four flavors: Unsweetened, Slightly Sweet, Peach and Raspberry. The green tea comes in three flavors: Unsweetened, Slightly Sweet and Mint & Honey. The lemonades are offered in two flavors: Pucker Up, Third Street’s take on classic lemonade (80 calories per serving), and Half & Half, a blend of iced tea and lemonade (60 calories per serving). The teas contain between 0 and 50 calories per serving. All nine products sell for $1.99.

  • Sambazon showcased new 1 liter cartons in three flavors: Purifying Greens, Daily Cleanse and Protein Recharge. Jason Moraff, brand manager, said that the beverages were inspired by the surging popularity of juice cleanses. Purifying Greens is sweetened with yacon syrup, a low-glycemic ingredient made from yacon roots grown in Peru that has 25 percent fewer calories than sugar. The company also launched single-serve bottles of Protein Recharge and Purifying Greens, and has secured a distribution agreement with Safeway. In August, the three beverages will enter Whole Foods Markets in the Rocky Mountain region, Moraff said.

  • Owl’s Brew, which makes tea crafted for cocktails, launched a gift-box sampler trio, right in time for…Pi Day? The sampler box features 8 oz. bottles of Pink & Black, a blend of darjeeling, hibiscus, lemon peel, strawberry and agave, The Classic, a blend of English Breakfast, lemon and lime, and Coco-Lada, a blend of black tea, chai spices, pineapple and coconut. The company has also been picked up by distributors First Source (formerly known as WytheWill) and US Foods.

  • Oatworks displayed a new bottle design for its three flavors: Peach Mango, Strawberry Banana and Pomegranate Blueberry. The new bottles are wrapped in a solid color that matches the liquid inside (orange, red and purple, respectively). This contrasts with the previous packaging, which differentiated the three varieties only by the color of the liquid (aside from a few font color differences).

  • Naked has taken a hint from its competition, adding two new green juices: Kale Blazer and Protein and Greens. Both juices are available in 15.2 oz. bottles. Kale Blazer is made with 20 kale and spinach leaves in every bottle. Protein and Greens has 30 grams of whey and soy protein per bottle and includes a blend of fruits and vegetables such as kale, wheatgrass, spinach and parsley.

  • Mountain Valley Sparkling Water, fresh off an investment from Great Range Capital, introduced Mountain Valley Essences in two flavors: Sparkling Lime and Blackberry Pomegranate. The Essences line comes in 1 liter bottles and represents the company’s first flavored releases.

  • Lifeway Foods knows that probiotics are trending, so it’s giving you options. Lots of them. The kefir king debuted lines of veggie smoothies, oat-based kefir products and stevia-sweetened kefir products. Lifeway Veggie Kefir has three varieties — Beet, Cucumber and Tomato — and contains a serving of vegetables, 11 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat and 12 probiotic cultures in every 8 oz. bottle. Lifeway Kefir with Oats, which also contains 11 grams of protein, has 1.5 grams of soluble oat powder and comes in Blueberry Maple, Apple Cinnamon and Vanilla Plum flavors. Lifeway Perfect 12 Kefir, available in 32 oz. bottles and sweetened with stevia, contains 12 probiotic cultures, 12 grams of carbohydrates and comes in Orange Cream, Apple Pear Cobbler, Triple Berry Tart and Key Lime Pie.

  • L.A. Libations’ stable of brands grew by one, with the addition of OBI probiotic soda. “We don’t believe the natural channel has a monopoly on probiotics,” said company co-founder Patrick Bolden of the $2.99 12 oz. bottle, due to hit the shelves in three to four months. Along the lines of making probiotics more accessible, Bolden said, the company has also made strides with its chia and aloe entries, winning placements for ChiaVie in Target and Fresh & Easy stores. The company is also making progress with Aloe Gloe, which has received authorizations at more than 2000 Walmart stores and national placement in Kroger and Safeway. The mainstream configurations of the brands — which do not feature whole chia seeds or textured aloe pulp — and the more mainstream channels are part of what Bolden said democratizes natural and organic trends. “With ALO, Mama Chia, it has been proven that consumers have started to enjoy these things,” Bolden said. “I feel like they’re great brands, but we’re making a little bit of a bet that consumers don’t want textured. But it all helps to grow the category.” Also in the booth was L.A. Libations’ horchata energy drink, Arriba, which debuted nationally in decidedly mainstream 7-Eleven stores.

  • Hiball Energy was growing fast, but after six years of selling glass bottles, founder Todd Berardi had the stones to switch to cans. He realized that Hiball could still offer a premium energy drink in a different format that also eases distribution and widens margins. Expo West showcased the continuation of Berardi’s vision in the form of new 8.4 oz. cans. They’re similar to Hiball’s 16 oz. offerings, but provide consumers with a smaller serving for on-the-go consumption. Hiball also released a new ginger ale flavor and has a coffee flavor in the works for a September release, Berardi said.

  • DRY Soda Co. has added four new flavors: Apple, Ginger, Pear and Cherry. The company also displayed its new 12 oz. slim aluminum can, which debuted last year in traditional and specialty retailers across the U.S. The cans are sold individually with a suggested retail price of $1.29.

  • Drink Chia has moved from a standard 10 oz. bottle to a new proprietary 12 oz. bottle. Chandra Davis, the co-founder of Drink Chia, said that the redesign is more indicative of the active lifestyle her brand embodies. The PET bottle is taller, skinnier and easy to take on a run or bike ride, Davis said. The bottle also gives the company more real estate to tout the product’s health benefits, such as its low caloric (50 per bottle) and sugar (5 grams per bottle) counts.

  • The Double Cola Company launched MINŌKU Coconut Water and ZILI Tea. The coconut water contains five electrolytes and is naturally gluten-, lactose- and dairy-free. Bonus points: after the show’s final day, their team joined an exhausted BevNET contingent at Hotel Menage’s tiki bar.

  • Coco Libre relaunched its latest line, Coco Libre Protein, which comes in an 11 oz. tetra pak and contains 20 grams of protein, the calcium of two cups of milk, the potassium of a banana and the magnesium of two cups of broccoli, according to the company. The company also announced its Fair Trade certificationa new distinction for coconut-based products.

  • Blueprint, bolstered by financial backing from Hain Celestial and the still-active juice craze, has launched 32 oz. bottles of Spicy Lemonade, which has a suggested retail price of $10.99, Green Juice and Beet Apple, which have suggested retail prices of $15.99. The bottles are also offered in 6-packs for $55.99, according to the company.

  • Bhakti Chai keeps adding to its ready-to-drink portfolio, partnering with Califia Farms to launch a pair of almond milks: Almond Blend and Toasted Coconut Almond Blend. The latter has no sugar, which has been a big hit with consumers, said founder Brook Eddy. The beverages were inspired by her recognition of the popularity of almond milks.

  • Avitae unveiled its new packaging at the show, which highlights the brand and the simplicity of “caffeine+water,” as seen below the brand name on the front of the 16.9 oz. bottle. Avitae has also added a stronger caffeine-level option of 125 milligrams for consumers seeking a boost equivalent to one and a half cups of coffee.

  • Argo Tea will release unsweetened teas this summer in three flavors: Ginger Peach, Green Tea Strawberry and Hibiscus Apple. More details to follow in the coming months.

BevNET editor-in-chief Jeffrey Klineman contributed to this story. And don’t despair: our spring cleaning takes another pass tomorrow. If we didn’t include your brand’s news, please keep us informed by contacting staff writer Max Rothman at mrothman@bevnet.com.