(Last Updated: Sep 03, 2014 at 3:09 PM)
Carolina Wild is a sharp-looking juice drink that is made with 100 percent muscadine grape juice from concentrate. The flavor of the product is essentially what you’d expect from a super premium single varietal grape juice: tart, slightly tannic, and moderately sweet. It will definitely transform what you think about bottled grape juice. No longer does it have to be a sugary tasting beverage that bears little resemblance to the fruit that it came from. Carolina Wild has done a great job of delivering something that has fresh and full bodied flavor. Packaging is a proprietary 12 oz. plastic bottle that’s round at the bottom and has a twisted-looking neck. It’s definitely attractive from a visual perspective. However, the product is still grape juice, which is far from being considered a sexy or trendy beverage. Calling it muscadine juice and making no mention of grapes skirts the issue slightly, but once consumers find out what it is, they might feel slightly duped. Figuring out how to be upfront about what muscadine is and still maintaining the integrity of the product is something that we’d recommend they focus on. Beyond that, there’s the challenge that every tart juice (e.g. pomegranate, acai) faces of extending the line to include multiple flavors (the challenge being that it’s hard to create material differentiation with such an assertive base flavor). Ultimately, we still very much like what the company has created. It’s just hard to say whether this is the foundation for something that can be built out into a full line -- or if it’s simply a niche product that will find its best chances for success in the regional market where it’s best known (Southeastern US).