So, you’ve got an awesome idea for a beverage. You’ve made a few test batches at home, your friends think it’s amazing, and now you’re ready to scale it up. Let’s talk about what’s next with Matt Matros.
You might not think it, but this seemingly minimal decision will factor in to the trajectory of your business because it determines how the product is manufactured and which pasteurization step you employ.
The claims you want to make will also determine how you put the product in the bottle (or can).
This goes without saying - but you’ll need to know what manufacturing type you need so that you can focus your co-packer search. The good news is that you can easily turn to what’s on the market for answers to this.
Don’t forget, they already have a stream of paying customers and you likely don't have a manufacturer.
Of course you’ll want to execute NDAs once you start sharing formulas, but this is mostly to give you comfort. Anything can be figured out by people who want to know. Even Coke’s formula is only protected by a vault and not a patent!
The manufacturer will work with you if you make their life easy. Make sure all of your materials and ingredients are onsite and easy for them to access.
There isn’t a “kombucha guy” or a “juice gal” that you can go to that sells you everything. You’ll need a formula, ingredients suppliers, packaging suppliers and steps to make the product. The manufacturer just takes orders from you.
I am not a believer that a product formulator needs to be used unless the product you are dreaming of is highly technical or really hasn’t been done before. But if it’s simply just a tweak of something already existing on the marketplace, then a flavor house can likely help you with the final formula.
Triangulate your MOQs. An initial order quantity of 200,000 labels per flavor might look intimidating, but it doesn't mean you need to run 200,000 finished bottles! And 200,000 labels might only cost you $10,000 or so, which isn’t such a scary number.
I was surprised to learn that “packaging brokers” like Gamer Packaging exist. But packaging brokers help you manage your cash flow and help you get an audience with large packaging suppliers which might not otherwise talk to you.
He is one of America’s leading consumer-focused entrepreneurs, having founded and successfully exited two businesses since 2009. Matt is the founder of PROTEIN BAR & KITCHEN®, a wildly popular chain of healthy fast-casual restaurants with locations in Chicagoland, Washington D.C. and Denver. In 2013, Matt sold PROTEIN BAR & KITCHEN® to private equity firm L Catterton.
Matt also founded LIMITLESS®, an innovative beverage company whose caffeinated sparkling water can be found nationwide in Walmart stores as well as thousands of other retailers. He sold LIMITLESS® to Keurig Dr Pepper in early 2020.