While the concept of an artichoke-infused water might send a few folks running for the hills, the presentation and positioning of Arty Water, which launched in early 2014, compelled some to take a closer look. With a unique formulation and winsome package, Arty Water has over the past year attracted a heap of media attention from trade and mainstream media outlets and found itself as a poster child for the new wave of nutritious, plant-based waters coming to market.
Despite significant interest in the brand, however, Arty Water has been discontinued. According to co-founder Kevin Kian, Arty Water was doomed by “incompetent leadership and lack of direction” and the company behind the brand is now dissolved. Kian did not elaborate nor offer specifics on the factors that led to Arty Water’s demise, but did say that because of the dissolution, “officer positions within our company were terminated,” including that of CEO Dr. Howard Ketelson and COO Yen Tran, each of whom are also co-founders of the brand.
“We were all shareholders and collectively decided to dissolve ARTY as both Howard and Yen are full time employees elsewhere and could not jeopardize being terminated by their employer,” Kian said. “They are no longer involved in the beverage industry.”
In a call with BevNET, Ketelson said that the company is still in the process of dissolution, and stated that, along with his own personal family obligations, Arty Water required a time and financial commitment that could not be met by its co-founders. Ketelson said that he wished his former partners well and hoped for their success.
Ketelson currently works for Alcon, a developer of eye care products, and has been with the company since September, 2000. Oddly, his LinkedIn page offers no mention of Arty Water listed as part of his background or career experience. Tran also works at Alcon and, according to his LinkedIn page, has held several positions with the company since August, 2011. Like Ketelson, Tran lists no connection with Arty Water.
At press time, Tran had yet to respond to multiple requests for comment.
Both Kian and Ketelson did say that a recent trademark infringement lawsuit filed against the company was not the reason that Arty Water shut down. Instead, Kian described it as “a distraction,” and one that “did not have any lasting impact” on the company. He also said that “we have already agreed on a settlement amount and the case has been resolved,” specifically in May.
For fans of the artichoke water brand, all is not lost. Kian is behind the development of a new company called Botanic Water, which markets a line of plant-based water products, one of which is — you guessed it — infused with artichoke extract. Botanic Water products are organic, sugar-free, caffeine-free and zero-calorie, and the line also features a jasmine water, ginger water and rose water.
Botanic Water’s website describes the formulation of the products as the result of an “innovative patent-pending process which harnesses the powerful antioxidant and nutrient properties found abundantly in plants.” Kian believes that the brand is differentiated from competing products in that Botanic waters are “plant-based and not flavored or essence waters like most of the products that you see in the market today.”
Botanic Water will be produced in a company-owned facility in Southern California, Kian said, who noted that in addition to the new production plant, “we also recruited a talented team of industry veterans to help our company grow.”
While Botanic Water has for the most part been a brand under the wraps, it launched a social media presence on April 1 and exhibited at the World Tea Expo, which was held in May. Kian said that Botanic Water is kicking off its New York launch at the SEED Vegan Expo in June and will promote the brand with events and demos throughout New York and New Jersey the same week of the event. Botanic Water will also exhibit at the upcoming 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show.