Two decades ago, Naya was one of the top-selling bottled water brands in the U.S. After years in the shadows, Naya is hoping to regain its once formidable market presence and leaning on a new partnership with Big Geyser to pave the path.
Bottled at the source from springs in Mirabel, Quebec, Naya achieved prominence in the 1990s when the brand was distributed by Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE). At the time, CCE was the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, and according to a 2009 article in Adweek, the company helped Naya reach $150 million in annual sales. Yet when Coca-Cola decided to develop its own bottled water, the now ubiquitous Dasani, CCE dropped Naya from its trucks and the brand struggled to regain its once formidable standing.
In 2009, Naya was acquired by private equity firm Catterton Partners, which viewed the brand’s new 100 percent recycled plastic bottle as a strong point of differentiation from other bottled waters. In the years that followed, Exclusive Beverage distributed Naya in metro New York. However, Exclusive closed its doors in November, 2015, and Naya signed with Big Geyser, the region’s largest independent non-alcoholic beverage distributor. In a press release announcing the move, Naya hailed Big Geyser as “the most powerful brand builder in New York City.”
Big Geyser COO Jerry Reda told BevNET that the distributor initiated a soft launch of Naya over the last two months. Noting that “there used to be a lot of Naya Water sold in the New York area and a lot of people know the brand,” Reda said that along with existing awareness, sales support from the company has helped it get off to a good start.
“They’ve been great partners so far,” Reda said of Naya. “They’ve been very supportive. They’re investing in slotting. They’re investing in getting the product on the shelf. And customers like the product.”
Naya comes in several package sizes, ranging from 250 mL to 1.5 L, each labeled with the tagline of “Live Healthy.” Reda said that the brand is being sold in up-and-down-the-street retailers and convenience stores in the New York area and offered in a single-serve format.
Reda described a large and continuously growing market for bottled water in New York, a key reason that Big Geyser added Naya to its portfolio. And while Big Geyser carries a variety of water brands, including Core, Essentia, Perrier and Crystal Geyser, Reda sees Naya as playing in a space of its own.
“We view it as that step right above commodity water, but right below premium water, [including] Fiji, Evian, Smartwater, Core and Essentia. It’s priced a little bit higher than commodity water, but we believe it has a better package, a better taste, and a better bottle.”