News highlights, market trends, and original data analysis related to the U.S. retail food & beverage industry … by Jay Nargundkar
In the refrigerated drinks case at Whole Foods on the shelf next to IZZE and its mostly-traditional fruit flavors, JOIA caught our eye with bottles labeled “Blackberry Pomegranate & Ginger” and “Grapefruit Chamomile & Cardamom”. At $1.69 per bottle they’re not cheap, but the unique flavoring stands out among adjacent competitors and may induce a trial among the adventurous — as it did for us.
JOIA’s website says the drinks were invented as an attempt to bring the sort of aroma and complexity of cocktails to sodas. Tasty on their own in our experience, JOIA sodas also make useful cocktail mixers — the company’s Twitter feed occasionally posts drink recipes using JOIA. The sodas are sweetened with cane sugar and erythritol, with the label listing 28g of sugar per 12oz. bottle.
Bob Safford, a former marketer for Kraft and General Mills, formed Boundary Water Brands in 2010 in Minnesota. He released JOIA in 2011, and his sodas — which recently expanded from four to six flavors — seem to have reached national distribution in the past year.
They also won this year’s “Outstanding Cold Beverage” sofi Award, given out by the organization which hosts the renowned Fancy Food Shows. JOIA’s trophy was on prominent display where we ran into them in Baltimore last week at their Natural Products Expo booth!