Based in Texas, Vim + Vigor markets a line of high pressure processed juice blends that are made with local and organic produce. Like competing HPP brands, the juices have a high level of flavor and freshness, and feature a variety of well-executed formulations. However, we do have an issue with the company’s naming convention, which has led to some not so appetizing wording on the face of its labels…
Stumptown’s “Cold Brew Coffee with Milk” is, as the name implies, a ready-to-drink blend of its cold brew coffee, rBST-free milk and sugar. This product, which effectively puts Stumptown into both the traditional RTD coffee category and the dairy space, is a very unique and enjoyable one that lives up to the reputation for high quality that the company has established. And the milk carton packaging? Yup – we love that too…
Hot Lips, which markets a line of fruit-infused sodas, recently launched its first ginger ale variety. The company’s Real Root Soda Ginger Ale is a blend of sparkling water, organic ginger root from Hawaii, and pure cane sugar. From our perspective, Hot Lips has done well to create a great tasting product that is both approachable and stays true to its well-recognized branding.
Aloe Gloe’s “Coconut” variety takes the brand into a new — and much more successful — beverage segment. For this product, the company blends 15 percent coconut water with its base aloe water, which definitely makes it taste like a hybrid product. But will crossing into the coconut water category boost awareness among consumers that are still unfamiliar with aloe beverages?
WTRMLN WTR (aka “Watermelon Water”) is a cold-pressed watermelon juice beverage that is made with watermelon flesh, watermelon rind and lemon. It is high pressure processed (HPP), which gives it an extremely fresh and refreshing flavor. And it certainly tastes like watermelon — there’s no question that the company nailed that part of the product. From our perspective, this could be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the consumer.
blk Beverages has introduced a new flavored line extension to its brand of fulvic trace mineral infused waters. blk+ contains the same black-colored liquid as blk’s primary line along with citric acid, natural flavors and stevia, which keeps the calorie count at zero. All in all, blk has done a good job in creating a mainstream-oriented offering, although the company still needs to do a bit more in terms of educating consumers about the functional benefits of the products.
IBEX is a line of drinkable yogurt products that are sweetened with cane sugar and come in four varieties. While yogurt is often associated with probiotic functionality, three of the SKUs feature an added function — including recovery and “brain-boosting” — that is specific to the variety. On the whole, we like the brand and formulation of the beverages, however, some minor changes will be needed to better explain the extra benefits in some of the flavors.
Quinoa was certainly one of the hottest food trends in 2013, however, we’ve seen the grain utilized by only a handful of beverage companies. Nuwi, a new brand based out of Miami, is one such company, and last year launched a line of quinoa smoothies. The drinks are made with filtered water, organic gluten-free quinoa flour, organic agave and natural flavor, and while the formulation is pretty good, the flavors — and branding — could use a bit of tweaking.
Caliwater’s Cactus Water is an all-natural beverage that is made with prickly pear cactus (both in concentrate form and extract). The product, which contains 22 percent juice, is sweetened with both the cactus pear juice and added organic stevia. From a taste perspective, the product is light and thirst-quenching, with a flavor that is probably best described as a very mellow berry with an earthy finish.
HealtheeUSA’s Organic Turmeric with Cinnamon drink is a USDA certified organic beverage that contains the equivalent of 4500 milligrams of fresh turmeric. Turmeric is certainly a timely and on-trend ingredient, and while the formulation of the product is good, its packaging needs quite a bit of work before the brand can really get off the ground.
Tumeric Alive’s Brooklyn Beet Elixir is the company’s first product to use beets, and the most bright-looking of its tumeric-infused drinks to date. The beverage — which is being made exclusively for the opening of Whole Foods’ new store at Third and 3rd in Brooklyn — blends beets with a base liquid that appears to be the same as that of TumericALIVE’s core flavors. Of the limited selection of beet drinks on the market, this one is quite good.
Hiball’s latest addition to its for its line of organic energy drinks comes in the form of a new ginger ale flavor. We can’t say that we’ve had too many ginger ale-flavored energy drinks, but we really like that Hiball has taken a classic flavor and successfully made it feel new and enjoyable in a way that hasn’t been done in the past.
Making its debut in the U.S. market. Fire Blade is a Austrian-based brand that markets an energy drink and shot. The products are not bad, but with a formulation, flavor and design that feels very much that of typical energy brands, we’re concerned that Fire Blade could easily be forgotten amongst the sea of similar products that have come before it.
Kombucha Brooklyn recently updated its packaging and added a few new flavors to its line of kombucha drinks. Moving from a round 16 oz. bottle to a stock 12 oz. soda-style glass package, it’s clear that the company is attempting to reach a broader, more mainstream audience. Whether that strategy will work out in the long run is unclear, but Kombucha Brooklyn has done well to create a clean and polished look along with a variety of well-executed flavors.