At the NACS show in Atlanta, Kezman said to look around and take notice of the number of Sparkling ICE imitators (there were many). Companies see success and they want to go for the same thing. Depending on perception, it’s flattering or just a natural development in the industry.
Before Calypso became a national brand, he said that flavored lemonades weren’t as widely spread. Since his product’s national arrival, which includes placements in Walmart, Circle K in the Midwest, Casey’s General Store, Thorntons, Fry’s, Terrible Herbst, QuikTrip and select Walgreens stores, he said that several companies have mimicked Calypso’s portfolio. He didn’t name names, but regardless of who was first to market, or whether or not the extensions were inevitable or sprouted from direct influence, similar portfolios exist. The Pulse Beverage Corporation, makers of Cabana Lemonade, offer blueberry, cherry, strawberry and mango lemonades. Hubert’s Lemonade offers much of the same, except switch blueberry with blackberry and cherry lemonade with cherry limeade. Snapple recently partnered with 7-Eleven to release original, pink and mango lemonades. These are just a few of several more examples.
Pulse CEO Robert Yates admitted that Calypso influenced his company to use a glass bottle and a decorative exterior for Cabana Lemonade when other canned lemonades opted for a more conservative package design. He said that while Calypso’s flavor innovation may not have directly influenced Cabana, he didn’t deny that Calypso was the first to market the products and that the company deserves credit for developing and refocusing the lemonade category.
Cabana Lemonade is made for the natural channel, using a sugar and stevia blend of sweeteners that results in 60 calories and 12 grams of sugar per 8 oz. Meanwhile, Calypso contains 112 to 120 calories and 26 to 28 grams of sugar per 8 oz. However, similar to Kezman’s opinion, Yates doesn’t see the differences as much of a problem. It’s all about catering to your respective market.
“There’s a lot of people out there that are just not interested in better-for-you beverages,” Yates said. “I think it suits their market very well.”
Still, with the competition afoot, and considering that Calypso hadn’t released a new product since 2011, Kezman wanted to preserve his brand’s freshness for consumers, distributors and retailers. This serves as a primary reason for the company’s limeade line, which was launched at NACS after six to seven months of production and development, and includes six flavors: Natural Limeade, Pineapple Peach Limeade, Coconut Colada Limeade, Sweet Cherry Limeade, Tangerine Limeade and Pink Guava Limeade.
Hopes are that the new line could give Calypso full shelf placements or, in places where the full shelf is already in place, it could create a second shelf.
If nothing else, at least it presents a new topic to those poor, repetitive distributors.
“It gives our distributors something else to talk about,” Kezman said.