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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ari Smith Cordtz and David. H. Cordz

The Six Biggest Mistakes Start Up Beverage Companies Make - Pt. 6 Great Packaging Isn't Enough


Beverage formulation and packaging

Mistake # 6 - They think because they have great packaging it will just sell off the shelf and think their beverage is so unique that they do not have competition.


If people are new to the beverage industry, they sometimes think that once you get placement on a shelf, if you have great packaging, it will just sell without doing anything else.


First, it’s important to understand that although people may buy it the first time because they like the packaging –but the message must be in the bottle. That means, they come back and buy it time and time again for the taste. That’s why choosing your beverage formulation company is incredibly important. You want something that isn’t just “good”, it needs to be “great” tasting compared to anyone else in your category. The question to ask yourself about the formulator is “do they have a good palate”. Knowing the chemistry is part of it but, having a good palate in the beverage development process is the key. One of the keys to our having won so many gold and double gold award winning medals for our products is the fact that David started out in the wine business and has an incredibly developed palate.


Second, you must do things to bring attention to your brand and get consumers to become aware of it. In the grocery business there are things that can help you do this that are important when you first get that shelf space.

Things to consider are:

  • In-store tastings (demo’s) They are expensive, and you want to make sure that it is being presented right by the demo company. One of our companies was a sparkling juice company. It was critical for them to be chilled down before serving. Not because of it making someone ill (they were pasteurized so they were completely safe even if not chilled), but because they taste so much better cold! We created a system for training the demo people before they were allowed to demo our product after word got back to us early on that someone had been demoing it warm!

  • In-store AD’s. Retailers LOVE it when you participate in their in-store advertisements to bring attention to your brand when it’s on deal. We find, the more you play ball with the retailer, the more they play ball with you.

  • Scan Downs. This is only legal in some states but, we found it to be highly effective when we could use it. This is something you do directly with the retailer. That means, you offer a discount on each bottle that is scanned through the checkout stand. At the end of the promotional period, the retailer sends you evidence of the number of bottles that were scanned through with an invoice. You reimburse them for the consumer discount amount that you agreed upon. The beauty of this is that you are only giving a discount on the bottles that SOLD, instead of everything that the retailer bought during that time. Not all grocery retailers offer this but, if they do, we found it to be an excellent win-win.

I’ve noticed that sometimes people think their drink is so unique and they do not have competition.


EVERY BEVERAGE HAS COMPETITION. Many years ago, we had a couple of shareholders that owned a large well known dairy business. In our conversations once, they told us that they considered any beverage someone put into their mouths-- was their competition.


That’s actually a very healthy attitude to take about your beverage brand. It’s incredibly important when you are starting up to look around and see what brands are in the same category as you. You’ll be placed in a “set” of things that may be the same as your brand or similar to your brand.

  • How do you stack up?

  • Are you more or less expensive?

  • How does your packaging compare?

  • Is there a difference in your ingredients?

  • What can you say that actually makes you unique or different from the competition?

It’s true that all beverages are your competition, and you will want to be very clear about why someone should purchase yours instead.


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