VINA Launches 2 Flavors Nationally at Sprouts Farmers Market

VINA Launches 2 Flavors Nationally at Sprouts Farmers Market

VINA Update from our Founder, Alex Matthews

I wanted to share some exciting news!

But before I do, I wanted to also share a short story…

I have been in the beverage business since 2012, with my previous company JUICE | Served Here.

Back in 2019, I became interested in drinking vinegar through a friend who was with Monster Energy at the time. Scott had started a company selling vinegar based tonics in a glass bottle called VINA. Scott was super busy with Monster and was about to embark on a new career path. I proposed to buy 50% of the company from him and make some changes to the formula, packaging and flavors.

I was convinced at the time that drinking vinegar might have the same potential as Kombucha, but popularized in a different format - in a can, add carbonation, etc. I was completely wrong!

We launched the new VINA in January 2020 with new art, cans and a very ACV-forward formula. Sales were a bust! People just did not adopt VINA as I thought they would. It turns out, people don't want to drink vinegar in the same way they want to drink Kombucha - even with its massively beneficial health properties. I felt like we had failed. We got it wrong. My gut (pun intended) was off.

I went back to the drawing board. In fact, we did get some things right. The can, the carbonation and the name were still strong and the benefits of ACV were still solid. The drinking experience was not. After talking to friends and colleagues who had shared our journey with us, it was clear that we needed a new formula that was more palatable, with some added benefits and a new look, to shake off the previous association with strong vinegar. We spent almost 6 months on new formulas that used Stevia as our primary sweetener and a new creative direction.

In Jan 2022 we re-launched VINA with a new formula and a new look. The initial reception was great! Sales picked up, and then to our surprise, slowed down! The new creative was well received, so why were sales slow? The initial adoption rate was super positive and then we saw the repurchase rate drop. We quickly polled our customers and the message was clear. Retail buyers liked the stevia, but our consumers did not. The stevia was the culprit and we needed to remove it quickly. Over the summer of 2022, we reformulated again (now including our proprietary trace mineral blend, plant fiber and ACV) using organic natural cane sugar and sweeteners instead of the stevia and introduced a stevia free badge to our cans. It worked!

In fact, it worked so well that interest from buyers increased due to the differentiation of offering a great tasting functional soda that was stevia free! Sales increased and VINA has gained significant interest from not only the retail buyer community, but also from consumers across the country.

Today, we launched VINA across the entire US with Sprouts as our partner. Couldn't be more happy to share this news and want to thank our entire community for sticking with us through this process.

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