Everybody has an energy drink. Marketers compete with each other to see who can put the most caffeine in a beverage without keeping people up all night. But what happens when consumers want a good night’s sleep without a prescription medication that will make them drowsy the next day? Mountain Pure Beverage Co. LLC has the answer for that, and it’s a snooze – literally – called ZZZZs.
“In the world today – with all the people taking so many different medicines – the doctors we have consulted with say if you get proper sleep and rest, many of the medicines people are taking are not necessary,” Mountain Pure CEO John Stacks maintains. “Rest is critically important. If you get the right rest, you don’t need so much of the caffeine that stresses your body. You have the restful sleep that gives you the ability to deal with life’s challenges. Based on that, we started working on this about three years ago, and we’re going to be introducing the product this fall on a retail level. It improves and enhances sleep and relaxation. We’re excited about it.”
ZZZZs is an all-natural, milk-based product that is homogenized and pasteurized and will work like a glass of warm milk before bedtime. To be available in grocery, health and convenience stores, its main ingredient is lactum, an FDA-approved product composed of whey and proteins that is extracted from milk.
“We wanted to make sure it’s something that truly had some scientific evidence behind it,” Stacks stresses.
When it comes to the company’s signature product – bottled water – Stacks emphasizes that Mountain Pure draws from natural springs. “We promote spring water because of the natural mineral elements in it,” Stacks asserts. “On quality and sanitation, it is better. You need the magnesium, potassium and calcium that is normally found in water. If you drink distilled or purified water, your body is not getting those mineral essentials that you need.”
To purify the spring water, Mountain Pure infuses it with ozone gas that is produced by subjecting oxygen molecules to a high electrical voltage. This treatment process, called ozonation, destroys bacteria and other microorganisms. The water also is subjected to ultraviolet light. “We do both of those things,” Stacks points out. “Usually, one by itself would be fine to ensure there is not a problem.”
Mountain Pure is certified at all three facilities by the Global Food Safety Initiative for food quality, food safety, HACCP, good manufacturing practices, and codex alimentarius. It also conforms to all federal regulations and U.S. pharmacopeia standards as well as all EPA standards. “We use the British Retail Consortium as our auditors,” Stacks relates. “All our plants have to undergo a rigorous quality inspection annually. It takes many days of monitoring, and certain sanitation procedures have to be followed. It’s very difficult and takes a very strong protocol to be qualified under the global food safety audit program. It means you can ship anywhere in the world when you meet these standards.”
ZZZZs takes Stacks back to his dairy industry roots. He obtained Mountain Pure Water with his partner J.B. Hunt only by default because it was part of their purchase of a milk packaging plant in December 1999. “I was a member of a dairy co-op then, and the only way to buy the milk plant was to take the water plant,” Stacks explains. “We sold the milk plant off to the dairy co-op. They didn’t want to be in the water business, so Mr. Hunt and I took the water plant and went from there.”
Stacks diversified by purchasing RealPure Beverages in 2004. Now rechristened Mountain Pure Beverages, the company has three plants, one at its original location in Little Rock, the former RealPure plant in Magee, Miss., and a new $22 million plant it finished building in fall 2011 in Palestine, Texas, which is strategically located between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. Each plant is approximately 130,000 square feet in size. The company’s products are distributed throughout the South and West, from North and South Carolina to New Mexico.
Mountain Pure also manufactures its RealPro energy drink, UGO and Yucatan, fruit-flavored drinks for children, and three varieties of iced tea under the Mountain Pure name. Stacks estimates approximately 40 percent of the company’s production is of its own branded products, and the rest is private-label products for mass marketers and others. He calculates production to be approximately 250 million bottles of beverages annually.
Mountain Pure has installed its first bottling line at the new plant in Palestine for various types of beverages, including ones with alcoholic content. A new spirits product will be announced by the end of this year, along with one with pharmaceutical content. The company also sells the 20 different sizes and configurations of two types of plastic bottles it manufactures for its own production.