Zero-calorie soda company Zevia LLC has been trying to hit a sweet spot with drinkers of high-end pop. Its latest strategy: bottles.
Paddy Spence, chief executive of the Culver City company, has built the brand by selling six-packs of the fizzy stuff in aluminum cans to retailers. The bottles come into the picture this week.
The glass bottles will help the company compete on grocery store shelves against specialty brands such as Reed’s Inc. of Los Angeles; Jones Soda Co. of Seattle; and Izze Beverage Co. of Boulder, Colo. The bottles will also make it easier to get Spence’s offerings into restaurants, he said.
“Just in the area where I go to lunch when I’m at work, there are half-a-dozen restaurants that want to sell our product,” he said. “They say they just can’t do anything with a can.”
Six of Zevia’s 15 flavors will be available in the new bottles, including cola, cream soda and ginger ale.
Jerry Prendergast, a restaurant consultant in Culver City, agreed that bottles will do better than cans among artisanal soda drinkers and restaurantgoers. However, he said, the market for upscale diet soda is very small, especially in dining establishments.
“Artisanal soda is a small niche and diet soda is a small niche within that, he said.”
Zevia’s drinks use a sweetener called stevia that is made from plant leaves and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It has no calories and is sweeter than sugar, offering an alternative to other sugar substitutes such as saccharine and aspartame, Spence said.
Spence, who bought Zevia from its founders in 2010, said he cut sugar completely out of his diet 12 years ago and lost 10 pounds in just the first two weeks.
“It’s a very easy way to make a small change that will impact health.”
– Ryan Faughnder
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