Continuing in its efforts to stock a larger number of healthier beverage options, CVS will begin selling Caliwater Cactus Water in 450 of its stores nationwide this month.
The deal represents a major expansion for the Los Angeles-based brand, bringing Cactus Water’s total distribution to roughly 2,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, according to Caliwater co-founder Matt McKee. CVS will stock three Caliwater varieties Cactus Water, Cactus + Berry and Cactus + Peach. It’s the first time the peach flavor will be available outside of the West Coast.
Placement at CVS represents a further mainstreaming for Caliwater, which debuted at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in 2014. The brand is available in Whole Foods and select Target stores in Southern California and is also sold online. McKee views CVS deal as a chance to reach to a much broader audience and build upon growing media coverage of beauty and skincare benefits of cactus.
“Any time we have this kind of national exposure is fantastic,” McKee said. “Our brand has been featured by Marie Claire, Elle and Vogue, and people for the most part have been kind of limited to going online to buy themselves a 12-pack case for 30 bucks. That can be kind of a non-starter for a lot of people, so it’s really cool to be in people’s neighborhoods.”
CVS over the past two years has begun stocking more better-for-you beverages, including kombucha, cold-pressed juice and plant waters. The drugstore giant reached out to Caliwater Water this past summer to learn more about the brand and was particularly interested in the products’ purported skin and beauty benefits.
“They indicated in the initial e-mails and calls that they were really looking to put more innovative and better-for-you beverages into stores,” McKee said. “We have had quite a few retailers reaching out to us specifically for plant waters. They’re even creating open merchandising sections for the various plant waters and that’s something I couldn’t have seen coming a couple of years ago.”
Caliwater’s 11.2 oz. Tetra Pak cartons will retail for $2.49 each at CVS. McKee believes the price is an accessible one for the average consumer. Cactus Water also offers a 1 L carton which is not currently available at CVS. However, Caliwater intends to roll out new flavor SKUs in the next year for its 11.2 oz. line. The company also plans to up its advertising by increasing its use of socially targeted online ads.
“Our vision has always been to create a product that’s healthful, approachable and doesn’t cost a fortune,” McKee said. “I don’t think wellness should be out of reach for everyday people.”