Bottoms Up!

With consumers craving soda substitutes, these entrepreneurs are serving up alternatives in the new-age beverage market:

$5.6 billion by 2010. And a new report titled The Future of Liquid Refreshment Beverages in the U.S. states “bottled water’s share of the non-alcoholic beverage market could advance from less than 22% in 2005 to nearly 29% in 2010.”

Industry experts call this emerging market the new-age beverage industry. For the entrepreneur who can cater to this shift in consumer tastes, the opportunities for ownership are plentiful.
“A lot of times, it’s very difficult to compete in a marketplace dominated by very large companies, but since consumers are now more open to new products, there is an opportunity for the new business owner,” says Gary Hemphill, managing director of BMC. “If you can develop a good product, get the right distribution, price it accordingly, have good product positioning, and essentially execute all of the nuts and bolts required, you can succeed.”

According to Liquid Brands Management (www.Liquid BM.com), a San Diego-based consulting company that helps beverage upstarts, hundreds of new beverage companies are launched every year. In 2005, there were 300 energy drink startups alone. Still, Jorge Olson, the company’s founder, says eight out of 10 new beverage businesses fail. “Most of them are going out of business because the owners just went out and bottled a beverage without doing any research, any targeting, and without taking sales into consideration first,” says Olson.

The owners of Saphia Lifestyle Beverages did their homework. So did beverage counterpart Magnolia Spice Teas. By initiating a plan, thoroughly studying the industry, and seeking professional help, these entrepreneurs have made their beverage companies strong contenders in the liquid refreshment market.

Liquid Profits: Steps to Starting A New-Age Beverage Company

To succeed as a newcomer in the beverage marketplace, you’ll need to know a few basics. Here are several key elements to help you get started:

Do your research. Before you start mixing ingredients or tracking down a manufacturer, study the industry. Know the difference between a bottling plant and a bottling manufacturer; the role of a beverage chemist; and how and where to find ingredients houses. Success in the beverage market hinges, in large part, on unique products tailored to a specific consumer, so determine your target audience.

Find financing. The cost of starting a beverage company depends on the type and amount of beverage you want to manufacture. Most spend upward of $50,000 to $100,000 to get rolling.

Manufacture your beverage. It begins with a flavor profile or the specific taste of your beverage. Most new beverage makers work with either a beverage chemist or an ingredients house to help them find a preferred taste. There are about 100 ingredients houses in the nation. You can find one by contacting a bottling plant.

Pick your packaging. Part of what successfully sells a new-age beverage is its branding or packaging. So find a name for your product, design a logo, determine what colors you will use, and settle on a size for your can or bottle. Don’t forget to trademark your creative works. Prices vary, but can cost up to $800 if you

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