Distribution Roundup: Sound Tea Gains DSD in New York

Sound Tea Gains DSD in New York with Gold Coast, Target Launch Announced

New York City-based sparkling tea maker Sound Tea has partnered with Gold Coast Distributors in its native market, giving the brand direct store distribution to complement its existing partnerships with UNFI and KeHE. Speaking with BevNET Monday, co-founder Tommy Kelly said the company is focused on driving velocity in the New York area.

The brand had previously partnered with Gourmet Guru, but lost independent accounts when that company was acquired by UNFI, Kelly said. Gold Coast provides Sound Tea with increased access to independent accounts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

“Our goal really with Gold Coast was to pick up a lot more of these independent, on-premise, grab-and-go, up and down the street accounts that do really strong business but don’t generally want to work with a lot of the broadline distributors,” Kelly said. “Many of the DSD distributors across the board have very strict exclusivity requirements, and Gold Coast was a little more flexible in allowing us to maintain some of our previously existing relationships.”

The partnership, which began earlier this month, comes ahead of the brand’s launch in Target stores throughout New York and Connecticut in June. Sound Tea will add three SKUs — Green Tea, White Tea, and Rose Tea — to roughly 75 locations.

While the company remains primarily focused on New York and the Northeast, Kelly said, Sound Tea has branched into Texas with 35 Market Street and Albertsons stores. The company is also eyeing expansion in the West Coast and Midwest.

Sound Tea is also in the middle of a seed round of fundraising to support the brand’s growth, expand its sales team and increase its marketing presence. The company expects to grow revenue three to four times from last year, Kelly said.

“I feel like we’re starting to hit our stride more now,” he said. “We get a lot more organic traction, a lot of people who recognize the brand. We find we’re not introducing the brand to people so much anymore, and it’s more so ‘I’ve seen that, I know that.’”

CHERRiSH Partners with CoreMark

Cherry juice maker CHERRiSH has partnered with CoreMark to distribute to 200 Nevada and Arizona convenience stores, with more regions to follow in the coming weeks, the company announced via a press release this month.

The Wash.-based brand makes a line of ready-to-drink, non-GMO cherry juices in 12 oz. bottles, with flavors including Cherry Original, Cherry Pomegranate, and Cherry Blueberry.

“As demand for health and wellness in the convenience channel continues to grow, we’re excited to work with CoreMark to introduce CHERRiSH to their convenience store partners,” said Dan Haggart, founder and CEO of CHERRiSH, in the press release. “We are confident that CHERRiSH will stand out with its strong health benefits and taste profile to be a big seller in the channel.”

Flow Alkaline Spring Water Enters Sprouts Farmers Market

Flow Alkaline Spring Water has entered more than 250 Sprouts Farmers Market stores across the U.S., the company announced Monday in a press release. The launch will include the brand’s core water product as well as recently introduced flavors Organic Cucumber + Mint and Organic Lemon + Ginger.

The brand is currently available in more than 2,500 U.S. retailers including Whole Foods, Central Market, Earth Fare, and Safeway.

“We are excited to partner with Sprouts Farmers Market to bring the first of our organic, refreshing and sophisticated flavors to their savvy shoppers,” said Flow CEO and founder Nicholas Reichenbach in a press release. “Sprouts Farmers Market focuses on inspiring and healthy lifestyle choices, a philosophy which very much aligns with Flow’s goal of having people drink more water to benefit their health, while preserving the environment through sustainable practices.”

Hydrive Energy Water Announces Southeast Grocer Expansion

Texas-based Hydrive Energy Water has added 276 Southeast Grocers stores across the Southeast region, including Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“We are excited to have Southeast Grocers on board with Hydrive Energy Water. Hydrive is one of the fastest growing enhanced waters in the Southeast, and we appreciate great retail partners such as Winn Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys for helping us make Hydrive available to their customers.” said Tiny Nelson, SVP of sales of Hydrive parent company Big Red, Inc., in a press release.

Hydrive contains zero calories and 160 mg of caffeine, and is available in six SKUs — Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Citrus Burst, Grape Fusion, Kiwi Melon, and Triple Berry. The product has a suggested retail price of $1.79 per 16 oz. bottle.