Distribution Roundup: Retailers Embrace the Offbeat

BlackCherryThe past few weeks of distribution deals indicate that while beverage buyers are continuing their faith in a proven category like coconut water, they’re not averse to innovation.

New placements of black cherry juice, cactus water and tea-crafted cocktails all make today’s list as beverage startups continue to push the envelope in flavor and function. Whether or not these products ever get off the shelf, distributors and retailers are at least willing to find out.

  • Cheribundi Inc. has announced the launch of Black Cherry Juice, available at 2,200 Walmart Supercenters across the country. The product has a sweeter profile than the brand’s other tart cherry juices, according to CEO Steve Pear, and is made with 50 percent tart cherries and 50 percent black sweet cherries.

  • Foco Coconut Water has expanded its distribution network in the Northeast, adding J D Beverage (northern N.J.), High Grade (central N.J.), Good-O (Conn. and Mass.), KP Distributing (upstate N.Y.) and United Natural Foods Inc. (Penn., Conn. and south N.J.). The product is also available at ShopRite/Wakefern Supermarkets.

  • Epicurex, the manufacturer and distributor that owns Cocozia, announced that its coconut water is now available across the U.S. through online retail giant Amazon.

  • True Drinks, the company that markets Aquaball, announced that the zero-calorie, flavored water for kids will be sold at 280 Walmart stores across the U.S. A company release notes that the fruit punch and grape flavors are available in 6-packs.

  • Sipp eco beverage co., the company that markets sparkling, flavored beverages, announced that it has reached a distribution agreement with Maletis Beverage. The partnership will expand the brand’s footprint into the Oregon and Washington markets. Maletis Beverage also carries Budweiser, Stella Artois and non-alcoholic beverage brands such as Voss Water and Nestea.

  • Cuba Beverage Company announced that it has signed a new distribution deal with DPI Specialty Foods, which is based in Ontario, Calif., about a one-hour drive east of downtown Los Angeles. The company release doesn’t specify the agreement’s specific geographical focus, however, DPI supplies more than 40,000 SKUs of perishable and nonperishable food items across five continents.

  • Owl’s Brew, a tea crafted for cocktails, recently announced a bevy of distribution gains over the past three months. Renaissance Specialty Foods will handle distribution in Northern California, starting with Nugget Markets. Gourmet Merchants International will bring Owl’s Brew to Whole Foods in the southern Pacific region. As for Pennsylvania and Ohio, Midland Foods and Alber & Leff will take the brand to Giant Eagle. In Kentucky, Spicewood will distribute Owl’s Brew to Liquor Barn. This fall, Crown Pacific will bring the product to Whole Foods in the Rocky Mountain region, and in the winter, Owl’s Brew will be sold at all 86 Crate & Barrel locations.

  • The Alkaline Water Company announced that Alkaline88, sold in three-liter and one-gallon sizes, is now available at King Soopers. Founded in 1947, the retailer operates 143 stores in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.

  • Jin+Ja has spent the summer building its distribution network in Southern California, landing shelf placements at Kroger divisions such as Ralphs, QFC, King Soopers and Fred Meyer, as well as Albertsons divisions, Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and others.

  • Caliwater Cactus Water and True Nopal Cactus Water have both announced national availability at The Fresh Market.

  • KonaRed announced that its beverages are now available in 176 Ralphs stores across the U.S. mainland. The distribution deal includes KonaRed Original in 16 oz. and 10.5 oz. bottles, as well as KonaRed Organic Green Tea and KonaRed Coconut Water.

  • Water Sensations, a line of zero-calorie liquid water infusions, announced that it is now sold at Akin’s and Chamberlin’s natural markets.

  • In a company release, Southern Teaz says that it has sold out shelves at Nugget Market and has been picked up by Raley’s and Save Mart Supermarkets. The non-GMO product, which is available in a 64 oz. glass jug, is made through biodynamic farming methods and fair trade practices. Southern Teaz has a suggested retail price of $4.99.

  • Cogo Coconut Milk Smoothies has expanded beyond its base in the Northeast by landing a deal with Central Markets in Texas. These markets can be found in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, San Antonio and Southlake.

  • Hangover Joe’s Holding Corporation announced that Core-Mark International Inc. will distribute Git-R-Done Energy, a 2 oz. energy shot.

  • After recently announcing agreements with Hy-Vee, Vitamin World and Mariano’s, Protein2o announced that it will soon be available at Kroger stores in the Midwest.