Made from watermelon flesh, watermelon rind, and organic lemon, with no added sugar, water or flavors, WTRMLN WTR is sufficiently distinctive to add a refreshing new twist to the functional beverages category, according to brand owner World Waters, which has secured shelf space for the brand in 7,500+ stores including Whole Foods, Kroger, Costco, Safeway, Wegman’s, and Sprouts, as well as at airports and colleges, and online at Amazon.com.
A cold pressed, high-pressure processed product with a 45-day shelf life, WTRMLN WTR is unusual in that it is a 100% juice rather than a ‘water’, but has a lot less sugar than most juices (60 calories, 12g sugar per 8floz serving vs 100+ calories and 20g+ sugar for an equivalent amount of orange juice) but still packs an impressive nutritional punch (740mg of potassium, 540mg of L-Citrulline, an amino acid for muscle recovery; and 9.5mg of lycopene).
On the production side, World Waters presses and bottles the product (made from US-grown watermelons that it says would otherwise go to waste as they don't meet retail standards) at facilities in New York, Michigan, Sacramento and then treats it with high pressure processing (HPP) before it is transported on to retail customers.
Jody Levy: It's one of the least expensive cold-pressed juices on the market
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA about the deal this morning, WTRMLN WTR co-founder Jody Levy said that she had had conversations with Beyonce's management company over an extended period, but that this was not a traditional endorsement deal.
"Beyonce, like all of our other investors is a strategic investor and a great partner, and she's already created opportunities for us, for example when she launched her Ivy Park fitness range WTRMLN WTR was part of her pop up store, and we are also involved with her tour that's on the road right now. She's doing what she can to create opportunities for the brand... but she won't be sitting in on our meetings with retail buyers!"
WTRMLN WTR has been growing very rapidly in part because it occupies a unique position in the market as it is a 100% juice, but low in calories, packed with nutrients you don't necessarily get in other beverages, and just as importantly, is "one of the least expensive cold-pressed juices on the market" said Levy.
Early adopters have been fitness enthusiasts, pro-athletes and everyday athletes, but the brand really has mass appeal because it is refreshing and tasty, she said. "People are looking for alternatives to high sugar juices. It's the most hydrating beverage on the market and it tastes delicious."
Asked whether additional SKUs are planned for the brand, she said: "There's innovation in the pipeline, but we have been having such an adventure with our single SKU that this is our focus right now."
On the distibution front, she said: "We have a big focus and initiative to really get it out there into convenience as well as natural and conventional grocery."
Beyonce: Clean, natural hydration
According to Beyonce, who joins other investors including CAVU Venture Partners in the company's latest capital raise: “I invested in WTRMLN WTR because it’s the future of clean, natural hydration; as partners, we share a simple mission to deliver accessible wellness to the world.
"This is more than an investment in a brand, it’s an investment in female leaders [WTRMLN WTR’s co-founder is Jody Levy], fitness, American farmers, and the health of people and our planet.”
The company does not disclose revenues, but says annual revenues are "on pace to more than triple in 2016 from the previous year."
WTRMLN WTR was founded in 2013 by Jody Levy and Harlan Berger, CEO and founder of Centaur Properties.