Press Clips: BYU Gets Caffeine Buzz; Yoko Ono Sues Bev Brand

BYU Brings Back Caffeine

There’s a buzz on Brigham Young University campus unlike anything seen in over 50 years: according to a report on NPR, BYU reintroduced caffeinated Coca-Cola soft drinks to its on-campus food service offerings this week.

The story cites a Q&A posted on the school’s website, in which director of BYU dining services Dean Wright said that “consumer preferences have clearly changed” in the half-century since the school decided not to sell caffeinated drinks in the mid 1950s. “Until more recently, Dining Services rarely received requests for caffeinated soda,” Wright wrote, adding that “requests have become much more frequent.”

Wright also said the decision was not financially motivated and that its current business relationship with Coca-Cola to supply products on campus will remain unchanged. “We are simply working to meet the preferences of our consumers,” he wrote.

Caffeine-free versions of Coke products will still be available and no other beverages currently offered on campus will be affected by this change. Energy drinks will not be sold by the school’s dining services.

The school announced the news by Tweeting an image of a Coke can with the caption “It’s happening.”

In 2012, The Church of Latter Day Saints, which owns BYU, clarified its stance on caffeine consumption: “The Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine. The Church’s health guidelines prohibits alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks”— taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee.”

Yoko One Blocks “John Lemon” Drink

The Guardian reports that a Polish beverage company has halted production of its “John Lemon” drink link after Yoko Ono Lennon, the widow of Beatles frontman John Lennon, brought legal action claiming the product infringed on her late husband’s name and personal rights.

In a letter to Mr. Lemonade Alternative Drinks, which produces John Lemon, and its European distributors, attorneys for Ono Lennon cited a Facebook post by John Lemon Ireland depicting a mural featuring Lennon and the brand’s logo, as well as advertising featuring a pair of round glasses, an icon frequently associated with the rock legend, next to the words “let it be,” a perceived reference to The Beatles’ 1970 album of the same name. The letter claimed damages in the range of 5,000 euros (around $5,880) per day and 500 euros (approximately $600) for every bottle sold.

In its defense, Mr. Lemonade denied it sought to benefit financially from Lennon’s name. The company argued it had registered its trademark for John Lemon in the European Union (EU) in 2014, two years prior to the registration of the John Lennon brand. Lawyers for Mr. Lemonade, which distributes to bars and restaurants in the United Kingdom and 13 other European countries, said it was settling the complaint to avoid a potential production shutdown.

According to the terms of the settlement, Mr. Lemonade is required to sell off its stock of John Lemon drinks by the end of October. The product will be reintroduced to the market as “On Lemon” in November.

Lawyers for Mr. Lemonade told Rolling Stone, “Having everything in mind, in order to avoid extremely high cost of the court proceeding (especially the risk of awarding full compensation of legal representation costs in case of negative ruling) and to avoid the risk of banning the current production of the John Lemon lemonades to secure claim, our client decided to conclude a settlement.”

U.K. Crazy For Coconut Water

Consumers in the U.K. can’t get enough coconut water, according to a story in The Guardian that calls the beverage the country’s fastest growing soft drink.

After the U.S. and Brazil, the U.K. is now the world’s third biggest market for coconut water, with London consuming more of the drink per person than any city on the planet. According to the story, sales have surpassed £100 million (around $134 million) for the first time and are expected to quadruple over the next half-decade.

Vita Coco reigns as the U.K.’s top selling brand, owning roughly 50 percent of the market, followed by Innocent, which was recently acquired by the Coca-Cola Company.

Charlie Booth, a sales and marketing manager at a U.K.-based natural food wholesaler, told The Guardian: “Everybody is looking for the next big thing – but we sell virtually nothing when you compare it with the coconut waters – now there’s a product that’s completely arrived.”

Beverage Brands Featured In Inc. 5000

The 2017 edition of Inc. magazine’s annual Inc. 5000 list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies featured a range of emerging ready-to-drink beverage brands spanning across a range of categories.

At #41, Dyla Brands, makers of Forto coffee shots and fruit-flavored water enhancer Stur, was the highest ranked RTD beverage producer on the list. The New Jersey-based brand has racked up an impressive three-year growth rate of 6,634 percent, according to Inc.

With 2016 revenue of $12.8 million, functional beverage brand Life Aid ranked #227 on the list. Sparkling water marker Spindrift (#385), Hawaiian volcanic water brand Waiakea (#414), and drinkable skyr yogurt company B’More Organic (#555) also made the list.

Kombucha was particularly well represented on this year’s Inc. 5000 list, with Humm Kombucha (#503), Brew Dr. Kombucha (#734) and LIVE Soda (#688) all earning spots. Hiball Energy (#1088) and Kohana Coffee (#2848) were also featured.