Izze Beverage Company
|Headquarters||Boulder, Colorado, United States|
|Todd Woloson and Greg Stroh|
The Izze Beverage Co. was founded in February of 2002 by Todd Woloson and Greg Stroh, and based in Boulder, Colorado. The company was named after Woloson’s daughter, Isabella. The company’s goal was to create healthy fruit juice and sparkling water beverages that would help support struggling communities. The founders were inspired by European sodas.
The business was privately owned for four years until it was bought by PepsiCo. in September of 2006. Pepsi left Izze at their headquarters in Boulder and left their distributing system untouched. Pepsi’s main goal was to help develop the Izze brand, introduce new consumers to both the Pepsi and Izze brands, and get PepsiCo. products into health food stores.
Todd Woloson and Greg Stroh were out to lunch one day, when they came up with the idea for the Izze Beverage Co.. They wanted to create a drink that mixed all-natural fruit juices and sparkling water. The idea was inspired both by Woloson’s wife who liked mixing juice and sparkling water, and by some european drinks Woloson and Stroh had recently tried. When the company first started out, they had nothing but $200,000 of family and friend’s money, and one phone line. When the first shipment of drinks went out, Woloson and Stroh took the drinks in their cars to the Ideal Market. The store took them and they stocked the shelves right then and there. The first four flavors were Pear, Lemon, Blackberry, and Grapefruit. Clementine, Blueberry, and Pomegranate showed up later. By 2003, the business had taken off. The brand was selling in Wild Oats and 7-Eleven stores across the country and in most Colorado grocery stores. The beverage was also beginning to show up at Starbucks stores in San Francisco, CA. and Houston, TX.
In August of 2005, the company had appointed Maile Buker as Vice President of Marketing. Buker received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and International Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was also very active in the community, which helped her in her job working for Izze.
In April of 2006, Izze appointed John Bello, founder and CEO of SoBe, as their chairman of the board. Bello brought strong executive discipline that helped Izze redefine softdrinks and helped solidify Izze’s leadership position in the marketplace.
In September of 2006, Izze was bought out by PepsiCo.. Up until this point, the Izze Beverage Co. had been privately owned. Pepsi bought Izze for $75 million. At the time many people were unsure as to what this would do for the company. However, Pepsi assured the public that they had no plans to change the distribution or manufacturing of the product in any way. They continued to let Izze run as an independent unit in Boulder, Co.. Pepsi sent one of their marketing agents out to Colorado to help the company grow. Both Izze and Pepsi benefitted from the sale as they both gained a new consumer base.
Another goal of Izze was to raise awareness and money for children around the world that were living in poverty. The vision began on a missions trip to the Honduras in 2002 where Woloson saw how economically depressed the whole community was. The area they were in was the Dole banana plantation. Woloson believed that a lot of the social issues were caused because of a lack of learning among the people. After that, he, his wife, Eliza Woloson, and Stroh started the Global Education Fund (GEF). Their goal was to raise money for third world countries who did not have good education programs. By 2007, Izze and GEF had been working together for five years. During 2007, the company had significantly increased its financial giving and its hours of book drives and fund raising efforts for GEF. By this time, the company was running monthly book drives and had collected more than 100,000 books for children living in poverty around the world. By 2013, Izze had provided over 100 scholarships, established 70 different libraries, and donated over $12 million in books to 22 countries worldwide.
One specific project that GEF and Izze worked on together was Project Reach. This was started in 2004 to support and create educational development in farm working communities where the company bought their fruit. Two of the first projects that Project Reach took on were based in farming communities in California and Maine. The first was a much needed donation to “Healthy Start Day Care Center”, which was based in Parlier, California. This is one of the country’s largest white grape growing regions. The daycare is dedicated to helping teen moms who are working to finish their high school education. Most of these teen mothers are daughters of the farmers in that area.
In the second project, the company donated Spanish and English books and educational materials to the Chaves Resource Center. Their goal was to help create a library in the new farm working community.
In March of 2005, Izze opened an online store due to consumer inquiries about Izze merchandise. The store sold t-shirts, cycling socks, hats, travel mugs, flying discs, and cases of sparkling juice. Due to the stores success, Woloson and Stroh decided to donate 100% of the online store’s profit to Project Reach.
Izze has ten sparkling fruit juice flavors and three sparkling water flavors. Five of their sparkling fruit juice flavors come in 12oz. cans as well as the normal 16oz bottles. The sparkling fruit juices contain 70% juice as well as the carbonated water.
These Flavors include:
- Sparkling Grapefruit
- Sparkling Clementine
- Sparkling Raspberry Mint
- Sparkling Citrus Ginger
- Sparkling Blueberry
- Sparkling Cherry Lime
- Sparkling Blackberry
- Sparkling Peach
- Sparkling Apple
- Sparkling Pomegranate
- Mandarin Lime
- Blackberry Pear
- Raspberry Watermelon
Izze also had two other lines of beverages called IZZEesque and IZZE Fortified. IZZEesque was a line of drinks that were low calory. They contained 25% pure fruit juice as well as sparkling water. This new beverage only had 50 calories and 11 grams of sugar. The company no longer produces this line of beverages. The IZZEesque flavors included:
- Black Raspberry
- Limon (Lemon and Lime)
- Mandarin Orange
IZZE Fortified was a drink line that infused the sparkling juices with vitamins C, B-6, and niacin. IZZE Fortified flavors included:
Each Izze sparkling juice generally contains anywhere from 90-150 calories. This is similar, if not less than, other natural fruit juices. However, each IZZEesque bottle generally only contains 50 calories. While each IZZE fortified bottle generally contained 90 calories.
Early on, Izze marketers were mainly focused on reaching a crowd of young adults around 18-25 years old. They were mainly marketing to college students and on college campuses to get their name out. They wanted the Izze beverage to not just be a drink for the students, but an accessory as well. They wanted it to be a statement to a person’s peers. These are the things they had in mind when creating Izze’s ad campaigns.
The company has had a few different ad campaigns throughout the company's history. One of them was called “You’ll Love What’s Inside”. These ads showed an Izze bottle with an entire fruit (or at least the peel of the fruit for lemons, limes, and oranges) inside the bottle. They were put in magazines such as; Entertainment Weekly, GQ, InStyle, People, and People Style Watch. These ads promoted the idea that the company was all natural and didn’t use any artificial sweeteners or preservatives in their drinks.
Along with this campaign, Izze created an online area where friends could go in and share sparkles with their close friends. These were messages that told friends what made them special. This campaign was made for those who loved sharing with their friends and family. When a customer had sent and received 20 sparkles, the company would send them a limited edition Sparkling Lime t-shirt. There were other prizes as well.
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