Vivant expands with cider firm

The Vivant Group has added a cider company to its rapidly expanding portfolio of beverage interests.Last month, the Calgary-based firm, which markets Vivant Natural Spring Water and Nick's Cooler, a light-alcohol, fruit-flavored drink, among other products, bought a controlling interest in...

The Vivant Group has added a cider company to its rapidly expanding portfolio of beverage interests.

Last month, the Calgary-based firm, which markets Vivant Natural Spring Water and Nick’s Cooler, a light-alcohol, fruit-flavored drink, among other products, bought a controlling interest in Wyder’s Premium Apple Cider of Vancouver.

Wyder’s produces alcoholic and alcohol-free ciders and distributes them in b.c., Alberta and states along the u.s. West Coast.

Complement Nick’s

Wayne Johnson, chairman of Vivant, says Wyder’s product line will complement the company’s existing Nick’s brand.

The Wyder’s acquisition follows by only three months Vivant’s April 22 purchase of a 51% share in Sports Beverage of Dallas.

Sports Beverage developed and markets Absolutely American, a ‘new age’ sparkling water product, and Pro Motion, a sports drink that competes with products such as Gatorade.

In January, the beverage firm announced its first acquisition when it bought Vancouver-based Nick’s.

Nick’s, which was formed four months earlier, markets four cooler flavors: Raspberry-Mint with Vodka, Lemon-Lime with Tequila, Peach-Mango with Light Rum and Mandarin-Orange with White Wine.

Vivant has since acquired the worldwide product marketing rights to the Nick’s brand.

Business plan

John Burdiga, executive vice-president of marketing for Vivant’s water division, says Vivant is pursuing a business plan of becoming a ‘diversified beverage company that operates internationally.’

According to company literature, Vivant was started to take advantage of a hole created when Evian switched from using specialty food distributors to using soft drink distributors.

But Burdiga says that since its inception July 31, 1992, Vivant has been moving aggressively to broaden its operations because ‘a water company alone wasn’t going to cut it in the big leagues.’

Although it has its headquarters in Calgary, Vivant does the bulk of its business in the much larger u.s. market.

Burdiga says 95% of Vivant’s sales of Vivant Natural Spring Water are made in the u.s., while Absolutely American and Pro Motion have yet to be imported into Canada.

International division

As well, the company has an international division, Vivant International, which is responsible for signing agreements with overseas bottlers.

In May, Vivant entered a joint-venture partnership with a Chinese business group to build a bottling plant for the production of sports drinks.

In addition to acquiring new product lines and expanding its distribution network, Vivant is also in the middle of testing an original line of non-alcoholic sodas under the brand name San Jose.

Flavors

Currently distributed only in Western Canadian convenience stores, San Jose sodas are available in four flavors: Rum-Cola, Rye-Gingerale, Gin-Tonic and a Tequila flavored Margarita.

Burdiga says the test indicates the product appeals primarily to youngsters, who buy the product and consume it much like they do candy cigarettes.