New Age: Five that Still Fit

We know, the New Age isn’t really that new anymore. Snapple and Nantucket Nectars mingle at Cadbury Schweppes cocktail parties, and Fruitopia flew the coop. But there are still a few folks out there who stick strongly to many New Age tenets: odd mixes, uses of exotic fruit or herbal flavors, outrageous packaging and a proposition that straddles two or three older, more established beverage categories but doesn’t fit comfortably into any of them.

And there are plenty of retailers who still want to maintain a New Age beverage set. It allows a designated location for fresh, eye-catching products that might not be able to compete in a narrowly- demarcated cooler, and it allows them to be sold at a premium, due to their high-margin otherness.

So, if you’re interested in keeping the New Age alive for yourself and your customers, here are five product lines that could form a pretty strong core group:

Fuze: Slenderize, Refresh, Vitalize

These products use a mix of just about every available beverage material, from the milk and fruit juice blends that characterize their Refresh line of not-quite-smoothies to the fruit juice and electrolyte combinations in Vitalize and the potential for appetite suppression that comes from Slenderize. Fuze has filtered through mounds of product types to varying degrees of success but remains very much a New Age stalwart, tinkering with combinations of ingredients, flirting with different functions, and creating beverages that have never fit neatly into any one category. Which means that they’re at the very heart of New Age.

Ito En Sri Lankan Tea Blends

Mixing super-fresh tea and pure fruit juice in a rectangular, shrink-wrapped bottle, these exotic (domestically exotic, that is, as it’s a leading brand in Japan) little beverages combine strong fruit and tea flavor. Flexible enough to be consumed – or vended – cold, at room temperature, or even in a special warming box, these mixes of black and green have a lot of badge appeal for tea fans. Adding all the appeal of natural tea to the American penchant for sweetness, this is basically an Arnold Palmer in a very contemporary package.

Sol Maté

Is it a soda? Is it an energy drink? A carbonated tea? Does its odd, angular glass bottle come from outer space, or the ancient Aztecs? Whatever it is, there isn’t a whole lot of defined space around Sol Maté, and that means that you’ve got a fizzed-up leg to support your New Age table. The yerba maté base gives it an energizing kick to accompany its exotic flavor, which isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. Somewhere, there’s a salsa dance night that’s just screaming for a case of this.

Taste Nirvana: Creamy Thai Tea, Creamy Thai Coffee, Creamy Green Tea and Coconut Juices

For consumers who love Thai-style products, the teas and coffee here represent one of the few opportunities they’ll have to enjoy these drinks outside of a Thai restaurant. While the packaging isn’t overly exotic (except for the one that looks like it’s holding green paint, thanks to the mixture of ingredients) there isn’t a lot of designated shelf space for any of these products, except if you group them all together. Add the coconut juices – a couple of which include Orbitz-looking coconut pulp – and you’ve got something to put next to Fuze’s Vitalize as a New Age sports drink. To be sure, it’s a highly ethnic product line at this point. But so was Red Bull.

Carpe Diem

Speaking of Red Bull, founder Dieter Mateschitz struck out into an entirely new direction with the launch of these lightly carbonated, exotic herb, root and soda blends. With tall, elegant packaging, these vibrantly-colored drinks are based on extracts of Gingko, Kefir, Kombucha, and botanic waters. Their labels include little symbols for Yoga, meditation, and even archery. They’ve got pungent smells evocative of old ways, but they’re bottled in an hourglass shaped PET that must have given the mold-makers fits. Get ready. The Yoga Moms are getting thirsty.