RealBeanz appears to be in a real pickle.
According to multiple sources, the Brooklyn-based company, which markets a line of bottled iced coffees and made functionality a key point of differentiation from competing products, has laid off most of its staff and is said to be seeking a new infusion of capital in hopes of a restaging its coffee line.
Speaking with individuals close to RealBeanz, BevNET learned that the company has in recent weeks had trouble filling orders and is now looking to consolidate distribution to only profitable regions for the brand, with New York being the primary focus.
RealBeanz debuted in 2011, launching a range of glass bottled coffee drinks each formulated with all-natural ingredients and promoting a specific functional benefit, such as its “Energize” product, a cappuccino-style drink blended with with ginseng and vitamin B12. Launched in metro New York, RealBeanz quickly gained distribution outside of the region, landing a number of wholesaler agreements in March, 2012 with its coffee available in several parts of the country later that year.
While RealBeanz had success finding distributors to carry its brand, velocity was an issue outside of its primary market in New York. An executive affiliated with the Northeast Independent Distributors Association, a 20-member group of beverage wholesalers, which had shouldered much of the brand’s early wholesale imprint, noted that he had discontinued the coffee line in the spring, saying that while he enjoyed the taste of the products and that the RealBeanz team was nice to work with, the coffee line did not sell well.
However, Lou Ferraro, the owner of Preferred Beverages, which distributes RealBeanz coffee in metro New York told BevNET that his company is still receiving shipments of the product and that demand for the brand has been “consistent,” particularly at Key Foods and online retailer FreshDirect. Ferraro noted that RealBeanz CEO Serge Freund assured him that Preferred will continue to receive product.
At press time, Freund has yet to return BevNET’s calls for comment.