Expo West Debut: Guayaki Sparkling Yerba Mate

Guayaki Yerba Mate is expanding into another category format, releasing a trio of sparkling yerba mate beverages – including a cola flavor — in 12.5 oz. slim cans. The company will debut the line extension at Natural Products Expo West next month. It’s part of a larger, ongoing plan to help turn yerba mate into a more recognizable ingredient – and one with a more easily understood purpose.

“We’re building a platform,” said Guayaki’s co-founder, David Karr. “We want to level the playing field, show people that yerba mate is a lot of things – it’s sparkling, non-carb, hot, cold, shots.”

The idea is to offer the alternative version of caffeine found in yerba mate in more common formats to help introduce it to a broader range of consumers, according to Karr.

The USDA organic, genetically modified organism-free three-sku line features the cola (Classic Gold) , as well as a pomegranate/cranberry and a grapefruit ginger variety. The grapefruit ginger is 45 calories and is partially sweetened with stevia. Employing a concentrated yerba mate extract, the cola has 120 mg of caffeine per serving, while the other two versions clock in at 80.

The sparkling product was developed in conjunction with a Portland, Ore.-based branding company, North. It will be packaged in 12 oz. “slim cans” similar to the ones used by Sambazon for its acai-based energy drinks, and the script on the can will focus more attention on “yerba mate” than on “Guayaki.”

With graphics that Karr termed as “more sophisticated” than the company’s first foray into canned teas, the line will aim more squarely toward the energy drink or CSD consumer. That does not mean the brand is abandoning teas, however: according to Karr, that canned line is still growing in triple digits.