As Smartwater Departs, Big Geyser Brings on Core Natural

Core WaterAs New York’s Big Geyser readies itself for a transition that will see Smartwater come off its trucks by the end of the month, the distribution powerhouse is set to add Core Natural, an alkaline water brand headed by FUZE and Bodyarmor founder Lance Collins, to its portfolio.

The news was confirmed by Big Geyser COO Jerry Reda, who declined to offer further comment.

It will be the Northeast debut for Core Natural, which infuses trace minerals into reverse-osmosis water, creating an electrolyte-enhanced beverage that is promoted as having a “perfect pH” of 7.4. Packaged in uniquely molded 20 and 30 oz. bottles that are tapered at the middle and topped with a large blue cap, Core Natural is currently distributed in Southern California (via Haralambos), Colorado and Texas, as well as in a handful of retailers in Virginia and Arizona.

Last month, Big Geyser announced its intention to cut the cord on Glaceau brands, informing suppliers that it would drop Vitaminwater and Smartwater from its portfolio by March 1. For Big Geyser, the largest independent beverage distributor in New York, the move was seen as a response to a sustained decline in sales and market share of Vitaminwater amid booming growth for Sparkling Ice and Monster Energy, which the company added to its trucks two years ago.

Smartwater, on the other hand, is growing at a torrid pace (according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research company, sales of the brand in measured channels are up nearly 17 percent over a 52 week period ending on Dec. 28). Big Geyser was expected to lean heavily on Essentia, the fast-growing alkaline water brand, to fill in some of the gaps left by Smartwater. Nevertheless, it’s clear that by dropping the Glaceau brand, Big Geyser would take a hit.

The addition of Core Natural now gives the distributor a two-horse stable of premium water brands to tackle metro New York. It is, however, somewhat of an odd pairing. Both are alkaline-focused brands that despite significant differences in packaging, feature marketing strategies that appear to be quite similar. While Essentia promotes itself as “Hydration Perfected,” Core Natural boasts a “Perfect pH” on package labels, and on its website, bills the water as “Perfect Hydration.”

As of press time, Collins has yet to reply to a request for comment.