New Jersey sports drink company learns from its mistakes

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Amino acid

“The best part about any business... the criticism you get as an entrepreneur."
“The best part about any business... the criticism you get as an entrepreneur."
After some false starts, Jersey Pump CEO Dany Nohra believes his company is on the right track in the growing sports and energy drink market.

Jersey Pump is a combination energy and protein drink, featuring 16g of whey protein and a blend that includes amino acids, electrolytes, L-Glutamine and “an exclusive energy compound”.

After four years of work, including an interruption in launching thanks to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Nohra believes they finally have the product needed to start spreading outside of New Jersey.

“This took a lot of failures and research,”​ he told BeverageDaily. “When we launched before, it wasn’t as successful as we thought it was going to be. We went back to the drawing board and did more group studies with customers. We pretty much allowed the consumers to build this product.”

A friendlier drink

One big change was honing and softening the brand’s image so that it was less gruff and friendlier for all, not just weight lifters and martial artists. Nohra said when it was launched the first time in 2013, there was only one flavor, citrus, and the drink featured 25g of protein.

To refine the brand, he hired professionals who have been around the beverage industry for years to get more out of their push. Now, the company has expanded to three flavors, uses a “less chalky” water-based formula, all-natural ingredients and removed 9g of protein to get down to 16g.

“The minute we changed it to natural with organic sugar and everything else, the consumer loved that,”​ Nohra said. “Everyone is on the organic and natural kick. We realized the big change between our first product, which wasn’t natural, until now and the way people really embraced us and the difference of how much they really liked it … When you say this is natural, you see their eyes just light up.”

Going clear

Nohra already has his next step in mind; clear bottles. 

“We undertook a group study and asked how we could change to become even better. Everyone asked if we thought about clear bottles. Right now consumers love transparency.”

“When consumers can actually see what they’re drinking and consuming, they’re more likely to grab it from the shelf, more likely than when they can’t see color or texture.”

Focused on fitness, considering expansion

Currently, Nohra said Jersey Pump has about 150 accounts, naming gyms, mom-and-pop fitness stores and shops like GNC as places that carry the product.

“I started it specifically for the extreme athlete,”​ he said, noting the company’s presence in MMA and martial arts gyms. “Now we’re moving forward to the everyday gladiator. Of course we’re still focusing on the athlete part of this; they’re our target market. But it’s a different kind of athlete we’re going for.”

Nohra wants to focus on selling to athletes that participate in accessible sports, such as Crossfit, and continue to build Jersey Pump’s brand as one that caters to athletes. While there are no current plans to expand business into convenience stores, he said they are taking it slow to ensure current customers are happy and buzz builds.

“We slowed down a little bit once we launched our product and started hearing some feedback​” he said of the company’s expansion. “This is the best part about any business, the criticism you get as an entrepreneur. This is the best thing that could happen to you, bad, good or indifferent.”

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