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Start a Beverage Brand in 2024: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

photo of a couple drinking soda for a start a beverage brand blog

Beverage brands are set to introduce hundreds of new drink options into the market in the first few months of 2024 alone. 

This surge includes everything from non-alcoholic wines that rival their alcoholic counterparts to exotic herbal teas, marking a significant shift towards health-focused consumer preferences.

Rapid product innovation is more than just a response to changing consumer desires; it's opening a distinctive window of opportunity for entrepreneurs ready to redefine the industry. As traditional sugary drinks lose favor, the market is ripe for new, innovative concepts.

In this guide, we’ll provide a roadmap for beverage entrepreneurs, detailing essential steps and strategies to go from beverage concept to thriving business. 

Understanding the Beverage Industry Landscape

2023 was a turning point for the beverage industry, with a shift from traditional offerings like standard sodas and predictable fruit juices. 

This shift was driven by consumers increasingly valuing health and wellness, environmental sustainability, and an appetite for experiential flavors (think formulas like "Lavender Honey Lemonade.") 

Despite stabilizing inflation, for new beverage brands in 2024, understanding consumer preferences, price sensitivity, and shopping habits will be make or break in the competitive manufacturing landscape. 

2024 Beverage Manufacturing Trends

  1. Experiential Flavors: Consumers are seeking unique sensory experiences in their beverages, like Lavender Honey Lemonade, which combines traditional and unexpected ingredients for a novel taste and aroma experience.

  1. Functional Beverages: Drinks that offer health benefits beyond basic nutrition, such as energy-boosting, immune-supporting, or stress-reducing properties.

  1. Plant-Based and Dairy-Free Alternatives: Rising demand for beverages made from plant-based ingredients as consumers seek dairy-free and vegan options.

  1. Personalization: The rise of AI-powered platforms that recommend personalized blends based on user data like taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and health goals.

  1. Sustainability: With 69% of consumers stating sustainability is more important than it was two years ago, eco-friendly production and packaging are in focus.

  1. Mocktails and Low-Alcohol Beverages: Growing popularity of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol options for health-conscious consumers.

  1. Diversity in Flavors: Reflecting the U.S.'s increasing diversity, there's a growing demand for global flavors like horchata, boba tea, Turkish coffee, and kombucha, with significant growth in online retail.

  1. CBD/THC Beverages: The legalization CBD and THC are leading to an increase in cannabis-infused drinks.

  1. Hybrid Beverages: Combining qualities of different drink types, like energy drinks with high electrolytes or sparkling waters with natural caffeine and juice flavors.

  1. Various Coffee Formats: The ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee and tea market is expanding rapidly, with a focus on low-sugar or sugar-free options, catering to on-the-go consumers.

Each of these trends represents a distinct opportunity for beverage manufacturers to innovate and cater to the evolving preferences of modern consumers. Understanding and capitalizing on these trends can be key to success in the competitive beverage market.

Growth Areas and Potential

In the 2024 U.S. beverage market, agility and creativity are key. Both large and small manufacturers are driving industry trends, with smaller players often leading the way due to their flexibility and innovative approaches. 

The expansion of e-commerce and direct-to-consumer channels has further enhanced opportunities for launching new beverages. Success in this market hinges on aligning with consumer preferences and leveraging trends, using data-driven insights for strategic decision-making. 

What you need to know about beverage consumers in 2024 is that they are not settling for the expected. They are more well informed and selective than ever before, and with the competition at an all time high they can afford to be picky.

Whether it's an exotic flavor profile, organic ingredients, or eco-friendly packaging, meeting these expectations can set your product apart in a crowded market. 

Steps to Start a Beverage Brand in 2024 

bottling line photo representing beverage brand start ups

The beverage industry is valued at $146 billion in the United States, and is expected to grow at a rate of 1.7% until 2027. All that to say there is a wealth of potential to establish a new beverage company that will catch on in the years to come. 

After reading the beverage trends above, here are the next steps to guide you through the initial stages of drink development:

  1. Formulating A Beverage Idea 

It all starts with your ideas. Whether it's a new flavor combination, a health-focused formula, or an innovative packaging design, your concept needs to be validated by your target audience. 

  1. Navigating Regulatory Requirements

Once you have a concept for your beverage in place, the next step is to collaborate with a beverage developer to bring your vision to market. 

The beverage industry is complex. Having a trusted partner ensures your drink tastes great, is functional, and is produced with top-quality ingredients.

Finding the right beverage development company makes all the difference. For example, some product development companies will hand over a formula without telling you exactly what ingredients comprise your blend, which means you won’t know the secret sauce in your own beverage. 

Knowing your proprietary formula gives you a better understanding of your product in the marketplace — a must for a competitive advantage. Make sure you choose a beverage development company, like BevNutra Solutions, that gives you sole ownership of your custom blend.

Here are a few more topics a qualified beverage development partner should be able to navigate. 

●     Formulation & Process Questions

●     Ingredient Sourcing

●     Choosing Between Private Label Or White Label Custom Formulations

Understanding and adhering to regulatory standards is crucial in the beverage industry. This includes food safety standards, labeling requirements, and health guidelines. 

In the USA, familiarize yourself with FDA regulations and state-specific guidelines. Compliance not only ensures the safety and quality of your product but also builds trust with your consumers.

  1. Ingredient Sourcing & Tasting

When you're ready to bring a new beverage to the market, it's time to get serious about ingredients. There are a few things you need to take into account when deciding on your product's ingredients. 

First, is your beverage purely for taste or does it serve as a functional wellness drink, too? Whether your goal is to bring an innovative product to the market, improve product flavor, improve texture, increase shelf-life, or enhance nutrition you’ll need to pinpoint the ingredients for a custom blend. 

This is important because it will help you formulate the right product, as well as determine how much of each ingredient is required for each batch of products. For example, if you want to use only natural or gluten-free products, then being able to source those ingredients will be key to your success. Also, consider cost and whether or not certain items are seasonal or hard to get quickly. 

Now it is finally time to taste your creation! But what if it is off? 

Skip that headache and partner with a developer with a thorough quality assurance process that will address any feedback and revise the formula if needed.

  1.  Product Launch

Once the formulation stage concludes, and you reach a final recipe, it’s nearly time to get your beverage on store shelves. But first, you’ll have big decisions to make. The next step is deciding whether your best option is full-scale production, investor presentations, or test markets. 

Additionally, you'll need to prepare nutrition labels, formalize batching instructions, and research manufacturer or co-packer selections. For example, you may not need to work with a large production company, which could save time and money as long as it’s a good fit.

Beverage Development Cost Considerations

Understanding the financial aspects of starting a beverage brand is essential for a successful launch. Here's a breakdown of the key cost factors:

  • Budgeting for Production: Production costs vary significantly based on the scale, type of beverage, and production method. Key factors include raw material costs (like ingredients and packaging), labor, and utilities.

  • Marketing and Distribution: This includes branding, packaging design, promotional materials, and advertising campaigns. Additionally, consider the costs of distribution channels – whether you're distributing locally or nationally, through retailers or direct-to-consumer.

  • Planning for Unexpected Expenses: It's wise to set aside a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. The beverage industry can be unpredictable, and having a financial cushion can help navigate challenges like fluctuating ingredient prices or sudden market changes.

Choosing the Right Beverage Manufacturer

bottling wine representing how to bottle a new drink in 2024

Your choice of beverage manufacturer can significantly impact the quality, cost-efficiency, and scalability of your product. A good manufacturing partner not only produces your drinks to the highest standards but also offers valuable insights and guidance throughout the production process.

When evaluating potential manufacturers, consider the following:

  • Experience and Expertise: Look for a manufacturer with a proven track record in your beverage category. Their experience can be invaluable in navigating industry challenges.

  • Production Capabilities: Ensure they have the necessary equipment and capacity to meet your production requirements, whether it's a small initial run or large-scale production.

  • Quality Assurance: Quality should never be compromised. Check for certifications and quality control processes that guarantee a consistent and high-quality product.

  • Flexibility and Scalability: Your manufacturing partner should be able to scale production in line with your business growth and adapt to any changes in your product or process.

  • Cost-effectiveness: While quality is paramount, cost is also a critical factor. Compare pricing models to ensure they align with your budget without compromising on quality.

The BevNutra Advantage

When you choose to partner with BevNutra, you're not just selecting a manufacturer; you're gaining a dedicated ally in your beverage brand development

At BevNutra, we pride ourselves on our expertise in proprietary blend development, our commitment to sourcing high-quality ingredients, and our ability to effectively dose nutritional functional supplements and beverages.

Why Partner with Us?

  1. Expertise in Proprietary Blend Development: We specialize in creating unique beverage formulas that set your product apart in the market.

  1. Quality Ingredient Sourcing: Our global network ensures access to the finest ingredients, aligning with your vision of quality and authenticity.

  1. Customized Solutions: Understanding that each beverage concept is unique, we offer tailored solutions to meet your specific needs.

  1. Effective Dosing for Functional Beverages: Our scientific approach ensures that your product not only tastes great but also delivers on its promised functional benefits.

With two decades of industry experience, BevNutra Solutions brings product concepts to life by collaborating with you every step of the way. Book your complimentary beverage manufacturing and development consultation.


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