Exclusive Beverages, the New York City distribution house founded in 2005 by former route owners for Big Geyser Steve Gress and Mike Trefcer, has reportedly closed its doors. According to sources close to the matter, Exclusive ceased its operations last month following years of financial struggles.
The troubles for Exclusive began after coconut water giant Vita Coco parted ways with the company in 2011. At the time Vita Coco transferred its greater New York City distribution territories over to Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Eastern Business Unit in a buyout that reportedly netted Exclusive around $4 million.
Sources close to Exclusive report that Gress and Trefcer have now landed at Bronx-based distributor Good-O/New England Beverages. The hires would presumably seek to strengthen Good-O’s presence in Exclusive’s former core market of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, as historically Good-O’s strengths have been in the New York City’s outer boroughs, The Bronx and Staten Island.
Contacted via e-mail, a Good-O Beverage Company sales manager stated that the company had not acquired any of Exclusive’s assets. It’s unclear where Exclusive’s portfolio brands, including Langer’s Juice, Vivaloe and FOCO coconut water, among others, will end up.
In a 2012 interview with BevNET, Gress stated that the company was in the process of “refocusing, retrenching [and] rebuilding,” following the loss of Vita Coco from its trucks and that the distributor was “going more toward upscale gourmet, but will have the same depth in the city.” In 2013, Exclusive’s George Perfetto revealed that the company was considering a foray into New England.
Gress did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.