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Drank to be distributed in western South Carolina

BY Allison Cerra

HOUSTON Innovative Beverage Group announced that the company has entered into an agreement with South Carolina-based Modern South Distribution to expand the reach of the company’s signature relaxation beverage Drank throughout western South Carolina.

Currently, Modern South distributes household name food and beverage products including Calypso Lemonade, Liquid Ice Energy Drinks and Tillamook Beef Jerky, to some of the largest stores in the area including Walgreens, Piggly Wiggly and Gazbah.

“At Modern South Distribution we pride ourselves on bringing top-of-the-line products to every store we work with,” said Christopher Selinger, VP operations for Modern South Distribution. “Relaxation beverages are among the hottest trends in the beverage industry today, so in making this decision, we knew we had to go with a real crowd pleaser. With its great taste, Dank is not only the leader in the calming beverage category, it’s a customer favorite.  Adding this product to our lineup is a great decision for both parties.”

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Ice system co. proposes heating up profit margins

BY DSN STAFF

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. —Ice is a high-margin business, but one the drug channel has not embraced. A new system, the Ice Gourmet, is out to change all that. The company wants to create a brand for ice, change the way it’s distributed and increase retailers’ margins in the process.

“Historically, bagged ice has been the No. 1 margin category for retailers with margins as high as 100%,” said John Williams, president of San-I-Vend, creator of the Ice Gourmet system. “But there are problems with the way ice is bagged and distributed. Consumers view it as a commodity product.”

Gourmet ice cubes are solid, block cubes that are made with purified water. The cubes have been covered by Food & Wine and Gourmet magazines, and are “hailed by bartenders for their slow melting qualities,” Williams said. The cubes don’t congeal with other cubes to form that giant mass of ice consumers are accustomed to getting in a bag.

The Ice Gourmet system brings production to the retailer with a backroom unit that includes a commercial ice-maker, along with a standard point-of-sale ice freezer. The ice-maker has a 30-in. by 30-in. footprint—not much bigger than a soda vending machine. The front-of-store freezer is 2 ft. to 3 ft. wide, depending on the model.

Store employees make ice as needed. “Anyone can be trained to make ice, and the ice bags can be filled in seconds,” Williams said.

The product also can retail at a higher price because it no longer is viewed as a commodity item. That means margins can be 200% to 300% on a product that normally retails for less than $2 a bag.

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PepsiCo AMPs up the energy

BY DSN STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y. —PepsiCo is extending its AMP franchise with two new products. AMP Energy juice is Pepsi’s first foray into the energy juice category. Pepsi’s VP marketing for the brand said the new introduction is positioned toward consumers who were not interested in coffee to solve their energy needs, but wanted something beyond traditional energy drink offerings.

The new 100% AMP energy juice drink contains taurine, ginseng and guarana, so it provides consumers with B and C vitamins, as well as an energy boost. AMP energy is available in 12-oz. resealable bottles, in orange and mixed berry flavors.

AMP Energy also added sugar-free Lightning Drink to its lineup, making AMP the first energy brand to offer a sugar-free, flavored drink on the market. The lemonade-flavored energy beverage is designed for consumers who want to keep calories in check.

The energy-drink segment’s dollar sales surged more than 8% in the drug store channel for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, according to SymphonyIRI Group.

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