Founded in 2001, the Pickle Juice Company has developed a line of products all with the same goal: relieving muscle cramps quickly so consumers can return to their activity faster.
One important thing to note is that the name Pickle Juice is more anecdotal and Keuppens stresses that the liquid in each of the company’s products has no pickle-derived ingredient.
“We call it Pickle Juice because it’s a familiar flavor,” vice president of global sales and marketing Filip Keuppens told BeverageDaily.
“It’s a familiar flavor, a lot of people have heard anecdotal stories pertaining to pickle brine. It’s a clean ingredient statement, it’s a very functional product that doesn’t buy into any hype.”
Pickle Juice has approximately 10 times the amount of electrolytes than some other sports drinks, and its proprietary vinegar formula relieves muscle cramps within a 45 to 60 minutes window, the company said.
It’s available to purchase on the company’s website and through Amazon as well as many specialty sports shops catering to the endurance athlete, Keuppens said.
Pickle Juice is making its away down under to the Australian market where Keuppins said “It’s basically an entire country full of our target audience.”
‘It’s a blessing and a curse’
Likening Pickle Juice Company’s entry into sports drinks market to Red Bull’s start in 1984 when energy drinks were nearly non-existent, Keuppens believes they are just tapping into the “neural inhibitor” market, which did not exist up until now.
“It’s not an energy drink nor is it an electrolytes drink,” Keuppens said. “I really firmly believe we’re opening a new category in sports drinks.”
According to Keuppens, one of the things that retailers struggle with is, “‘where do I put this thing?’”
“Sometimes they’ll put in pharmacy as a functional pain relief product and sometimes in the sports drink aisle, we’ve seen success everywhere,” Keuppens said.
The struggle Keuppens is referring to is that the functionality of Pickle Juice extends beyond the physical to neurological benefits, acting as a “neural inhibitor.” According to a study by Dr. Kevin Miller from the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences at North Dakota State University, drinking pickle brine helps spark a “neurally mediated reflex” that helps send the appropriate cues to misfiring muscles, which are thought to cause cramps.
In other words, muscle cramps are a neurological response instead of a physical one, the study suggests.
“The neural inhibitor market doesn’t exist” in the sports drinks category, Keuppens said.
“It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a new category and I think we’re going to see this evolve as the sports drink category grows.”