“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”
— William Shakespeare
If you walk into a C-Store today, there’s a good chance you may find brews, teas and other potions quite unlike anything you’ve seen before, with ingredients like kombucha and guarna that sound a bit unearthly. In fact, if you go to the right C-Store, you can even get the stuff on tap.
So what’s going on? What are these drinks? Have the three witches from Macbeth reinvented themselves as entrepreneurs serving as their own wholesale distributors? Are they part of the ultimate start-up, toiling in their kitchen, chopping up bitter gourd and mandrake root, stirring a large black cauldron over flames in an oven that looks like a fireplace, ladling home brew into bottles with a funnel? Do they then fly away on their brooms, product strapped to their back, to make their deliveries?
No. At least we don’t think so. But a new crop of innovators, health drink purveyors, have tapped into the C-Store market and are making available exciting new products, as reported in the December 2013 issue of NACS magazine. As that story states, the willingness of C-Stores to explore this new phase of health-oriented drinks and what they might provide to a bottom line has occurred, in part, because of a softening of fountain drinks as a profit center, and the fact the new drinks from companies like Reed’s, Buddha’s Brew, and Bai Brands bring with them very healthy margins. It also doesn’t hurt that the drinks appeal to a younger, healthier demographic that tends to be flush with discretionary income.
Even though these new drinks haven’t yet taken the industry by storm, they represent significant growth potential for the industry and are a logical outgrowth of the healthier fare that C-Stores have so far leveraged to position themselves for success, now and in the future.
So while it may not be Sabrina or Samantha or Glinda from Oz that’s concocting those new drinks, that doesn’t make them any less alluring to progressive operators. And while you’re waiting to capitalize on the trend, here’s a recipe for brewing your own kombucha. You won’t even need a cauldron!