Blossom Water was first dreamed up in 2010 at the Fortuna’s western Massachusetts weekend home, where Steve would garden as a way to decompress from a demanding Wall Street work week, and he found the idea of “drinking flowers had tremendous appeal.”
After preliminary and in-depth research, the husband-and-wife team found there was a viable market opportunity for water infused with floral essences.
“I knew nothing about beverages,” Steven Fortuna, who holds two engineering degrees and a finance degree, told BeverageDaily.
“I was very, very pleased to uncover, through my research, that many other cultures use floral essences in their daily diets.”
Blossom Water takes floral essence flavors like rose, jasmine, lilac and geranium and combines them with a base fruit flavor with a touch of sweetness from organic agave nectar and non-GMO erythritol. The beverage comes in four flavors (lemon rose, plum jasmine, grapefruit lilac, and pomegranate geranium), each with 45 calories per 16-ounce bottle.
Adding a hint of sweetness was a very deliberate move, according to Fortuna.
“You need to create some flavor and it gives you a beautiful, clean finish,” he said.
The tradeoff of a heightened flavor profile for an under-50 calorie count is worth it, he added.
The company has secured distribution with 25 DPI, KeHE, and UNFI warehouses throughout the US and can be found in retail stores including Kroger and Whole Foods Market.
Hitting the right price point
When Blossom Water first hit shelves in 2013, the suggested retail price was $2.99, and since then the company has been working to bring it down to $1.99 in order to capture a more mainstream audience.
“When you build a national brand you must build it in more than just specialty. You have to build it for traditional mainstream grocery,” Fortuna said.
The Fortunas realized they could appeal beyond the niche foodie crowd: to a broader consumer audience who is not necessarily interested in the innovative aspect of floral essence water, but are nevertheless searching for an alternative to water.
“We have not lost our foodie appeal because at the end of the day foodies love the concept, they love the innovation, and they love the cutting edge aspect,” he added. “The beauty about this is being able to appeal to people who say, ‘This is just damn good’.”
The label design and packaging has also played a large role in capturing all types of consumers, Fortuna said. The clear glass bottle allows customers to see the naturally colored liquid inside and its clear shrink sleeve label with botanical paintings of the main ingredients “looks like they’re almost suspended in the water.”
Anticipated 2017 growth
Since going to market in 2013, Blossom Water has doubled in sales every year, and is setting the bar even higher for 2017.
“We expect a triple in sales in 2017,” Fortuna said. “We think sales growth is going to accelerate starting this year because we are reaching a critical mass distribution."