Talking Rain Partners with Tata to Distribute ‘Himalayan’ in U.S.

Following through on a goal to tap its distribution capabilities by bringing on additional brands, Talking Rain Beverage Company announced a partnership Tuesday with Tata Global Beverages to distribute Himalayan mineral water in the U.S.

Based in India, Tata Global Beverages is one of the world’s largest producers of tea and coffee. Himalayan is a premium bottled mineral water brand sourced from an underground aquifer at the base of the brand’s namesake mountains. In India, the brand has also launched a sparkling product and is piloting Orchard Pure, a new line of flavored waters, neither of which are included in the distribution deal.

According to a press release, the partnership will utilize Talking Rain’s “extensive go to market and execution capabilities in the U.S.” as well as Tata’s marketing department.

In March, Talking Rain’s then-CEO Kevin Klock told BevNET that the company, which produces and distributes Sparkling Ice, was looking to bring on more brands for either distribution partnerships or acquisition. Talking Rain currently operates a direct-store-distribution network of more than 300 distributors throughout the U.S.

Speaking to BevNET Tuesday, Talking Rain President Marcus Smith said the partnership formed as Talking Rain was researching global brands for products they felt had appeal to U.S. consumers. Himalayan, he said, stood out for its unique story, coming from an unique, naturally-filtered water source.

“It was a brand that was really differentiated, that had a use proposition that is consistent with what consumers are looking for today, and above and beyond that we were impressed by the strength of the organization [Tata] and their capabilities,” Smith said. “As we began to explore the opportunity a bit more, I think they realized the value of the distribution network, the infrastructure, and the system that we put together. It was a natural opportunity to combine forces.”

Terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Talking Rain will begin a pilot rollout of Himalayan in January, priced as a premium product.

Regarding plans to expand Talking Rain’s distribution portfolio, Smith said the company plans to continue expanding its offerings, but will focus on healthy and better-for-you beverages. Himalayan, he said, is an example of this strategy. Smith added the brand has potential to capitalize on the growing market for bottled water and is significantly differentiated from Sparkling Ice.

“As we go forward we’ll be guided by the consumer and what they really care about,” Smith said. “All of that sits in the constraints we’ve imposed on ourselves, which is we want to skew towards providing better-for-you alternatives in everything we do. So you might not seeing us coming to market with a traditional CSD, but that certainly leaves a lot of space for us to expand.”

Smith also left the door open for potential acquisitions by Talking Rain but did not have any announcements regarding future deals.

“When we think about how we expand and grow the business we haven’t taken any options off the table,” he said. “We continue to look at all kinds of relationships.”