Adirondack Beverages Corp.
Issue Spring 15
A specialty co-packer, Adirondack Beverages Corp. is a beverage company that produces private-label brands as well as its own branded products.
About 50 percent of its business is co-packing, 25 percent branded products and 25 percent private label. It works on all varieties of sodas, teas, water, flavored water and energy drinks.
“Our facility operates six packing lines,” says Dan Dubovik, general manager. This includes everything from 8-ounce and 12-ounce cans and varieties of bottles including 15.4-ounce, 17-ounce, 1-litre, 2-litre, 12-ounce and 10-ounce bottles. The company works on more than 1,300 SKUs.
One thing many are unaware of about the bottling business is the complexity of its work. “When you are juggling 1,300 SKUs with six packing lines, it is very complex,” Dubovik shares.
Feather in the Cap
One unique innovation the company has recently implemented is a dosing cap. For this method, companies provide bottle caps with doses of flavor, vitamin or mineral inside the cap. The bottle cap is applied and the product is distributed. When the customer is ready to consume it, she presses the cap releasing the ingredients for fresh flavor.
One customer that utilizes dosing caps is Biosteel, which produces high-performance sports drinks for exercise enthusiasts. Another customer is AquaBall, which markets flavor-enhanced water for children in ball-shaped bottles featuring characters from the Disney film “Frozen.”
Koch Beverage is another customer. Adirondack Beverages Corp. packs 80 percent of the tea and sparkling water for the Nestea brand, as well.
A major trend in this business is an increased emphasis on healthier products, Dubovik says. “We are getting away from sugary drinks and diet products to more healthy alternatives such as sparkling water and tea.”
Rather than consuming a 170-calorie Coke, many now choose a 45-calorie fruit-flavored water, for example.
Zero-calorie Cascade Ice Sparking Water and 16-calorie Skinnygirl flavored carbonated water are two good examples. Skinnygirl wine was created by “Real Housewife of New York City” Bethenny Frankel who then spun-off the water product. Many innovative entrepreneurs join forces with Adirondack Beverages Corp. when starting new beverage products such as Neuro Drinks with varieties to promote sleep, bliss, energy and healthy immune functioning.
Despite these ground-breaking newcomers changing the beverage business, “Our core business is still sodas,” Dubovik says. “Yet, we are a one-stop shop for anybody coming up with different beverages. We are willing to take on new packages and new ways of doing things.”
It is Adirondack Beverages Corp.’s ability to forge strong relationships that enables its success, says Jason Leszczynski, manager of engineering and projects. “What separates us from others is our great relationships with vendors and suppliers.” As the company often works on tight deadlines, he explains, the outstanding assistance it receives from the extended team makes all the difference.
“A lot of our new customers don’t have big budgets,” Dubovik says. “Some have never done this before. They don’t have millions of dollars in state-of-the-art equipment and they don’t have tons of money. They don’t even know how it will sell.” In these instances, Adirondack Beverages work in all ways possible for success finding the most effective ways to stretch dollars. It can modify lines, for example, to help get new products out.
Other customers might have bigger budgets and success in one region, yet, do not wish to spend shipping to another part of the nation. In these instances, they find partnering with Adirondack Beverages for mutual benefit lucrative.
The company is active in the community in the Albany, N.Y. market. For example, it helps support the Food Bank of Greater Albany, which is one of the largest food banks in the nation that assist the poor and homeless. Adirondack Beverages also backs an annual golf tournament for three decades.
“We do our part in the community,” Dubovik explains. “It helps us get our name out there. Helping charity helps us feel closer with employees and spreading our name in the community. People will become aware we are not just about making money but also here to support our local community.”
The local community is often surprised at the complexity of the company’s business. When it sponsors a booth at the annual Octoberfest handing out Snapple, locals are often surprised to learn the company does so much business with national beverages. “They hadn’t realized that’s what we do,” Dubovik recalls. “They just think we make Adirondack soda and they are very surprised by the amount of complexity, the amount of SKUs and the different types of packages we work with.” It modifies or purchases equipment for all different sorts of scenarios, he states.
Adirondack Beverages Corp.’s facilities with high-speed bottling and canning lines are located in Scotia, N.Y. and Worcester, Mass. totaling more than 1 million square feet of bottling and warehousing space.
Because water is 86 percent of any soft drink, it obviously is an important ingredient. “Our water is among the purest in the world,” the company says. “The precious Adirondack Aquifer was created thousands of years ago when ice age glaciers shaped the huge underground reservoirs that hold and protect these pure, cold 54 degree crystalline clear waters. Adirondack is one of the few soft drinks you can buy that is not made with municipal water. Our water is naturally pure and naturally sodium free.”
It sources spring water from two springs located in the nearby Green Mountains of Vermont within easy trucking distance of the Scotia bottling facility. Both sources are approved by the New York State Health Department and undergo rigorous testing in the on-site microbiological laboratory and by outside laboratories to meet the water analysis requirements of all 50 states.
In addition to producing carbonated soft drinks, Adirondack also produces spring water, purified water, sparkling waters, seltzers, energy drinks and non-carbonated beverages.
“Our quality assurance department consists of two laboratories with a quality control laboratory and a microbiological laboratory,” the company says. “Highly trained technicians are responsible for every phase of our operation from raw material receipt, to production, to full product shipment. Adirondack will commit to providing our customers with the best possible product, at a value price, day in and day out.”