While browsing the grocery store last month, I came across a striking product in the beverage case—Gizmo Beverage’s Tea of a Kind™, a ready-to-drink tea that employs a cap designed to infuse tea just before drinking. Simply “twist to brew,” as the bottle calls out, and you have freshly-brewed tea with vitamins, antioxidants, and flavor in full effect.
I reached out to Karin Gerlach, Marketing Manager at Gizmo Beverages, the makers of Tea of a Kind, to find out more about the innovative Vessl™ cap, the striking Tea of a Kind brand, and the genesis of this forward-thinking company.
Q: Tell me a little about Tea of a Kind and Gizmo Beverages: When was the company founded? What was the impetus behind starting the company?
Gizmo Beverages, Inc. was formed in July of 2011, with the intent to license and commercialize the Vessl technology. Gizmo’s Founder, Walter Apodaca, was a 25-year veteran of the beverages industry and believed the technology needed a commercial application to demonstrate a successful proof-of-concept. By August 2012, Gizmo Beverages had introduced a ready-to-drink line of iced teas called “Tea of a Kind.” A few weeks later, Tea of a Kind was named the best ready-to-drink tea or coffee at the American Beverage Association’s annual trade show, InterBev.
Q: Tell me about the Vessl cap. How was it developed and implemented, and what are the benefits?
In 1996, a Scottish inventor named Bernard Frutin invented a forerunner of the Vessl Closure and Delivery Device. Basically, Vessl is a closure (i.e. bottle cap) that stores fresh ingredients inside a nitrogen-pressurized, oxygen-depleted chamber. This keeps the ingredients sealed and fresh without preservatives, protects them from oxidation, and prevents harmful exposure to UV light. When the Device is twisted, the ingredients are propelled from the chamber and instantly mix with the liquid inside the bottle. The Device has potentially limitless applications, including use in flavored waters, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, dairy products, cosmetics, and household, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and other specialty products. The Vessl allows for the elimination of the disposable bottle by simply re-filling a bottle and twisting on a new Vessl closure.
Q: What varieties of product offerings does the company currently have? Are there more in the works?
Gizmo Beverages, Inc. manufactures its own brand, Tea of a Kind that is currently distributed in 10 Western U.S. states. We offer Tea of a Kind in four exciting flavors including unsweetened black tea, peach ginger black tea, citrus mint green tea, pomegranate acai white tea, and will soon introduce a fifth flavor: raspberry yerba mate. The real brewed tea in Tea of a Kind is stored in the Vessl closure, preventing otherwise rapid degradation of key ingredients like antioxidants and natural flavors, without the use of any preservatives.
We recently introduced a new eco-friendly 4-pack Tea of a Kind that contains one ready-to-go bottle of tea and three refill Vessl closures. The Tea of a Kind Eco 4-Pack will have an enormous environmental impact by conserving resources and reducing its carbon footprint. This package will help reduce pollution and resource consumption by shipping Tea of a Kind caps instead of heavy bottles of water to distributors and retailers. All the packaging materials used in Tea of a Kind are 100% recyclable.
Q: What other products employ the Vessl closure system? How is the company capitalizing on the broad applicability of the technology?
Vessl also is used on a third-party drink distributed by NUTRILITE™, called Phyto2GO™ Immunity Drink. Phyto2GO is a refreshing drink with pomegranate and acai berry flavors, packed full of active components, including 45 mg of vitamin C from acerola cherries grown on Nutrilite’s organic farms to support the immune system and reinforce the body's natural defenses. The drink—delivered in an award-winning packaging format containing one dishwasher-safe reusable bottles and 6 Vessl refills—is distributed in 32 countries worldwide.
In 2016 we entered into a supply agreement to provide a new version of Vessl for use with one of the worlds largest prestige skin care lines. The topical skin treatment product is schedule for global launch in early 2018.
We also entered into a supply agreement for the use of the Vessl on a cannabis drink called Kalvara, to be sold in states where cannabis has been legalized. Vessl solves the most important problems with products containing THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, because it allows precise dosing and preserves efficacy without needing refrigeration of the beverage or the use of preservatives.
We are in ongoing discussions with several major consumer packaged goods companies in a wide variety of commercial segments and product categories. Since inception, we have developed a state-of-the-art manufacturing and supply-chain infrastructure to support rapid growth with the full capability to manufacture, fill, gas, and package Vessl applications as full turn-key solutions for third parties or to aid customers in developing their own infrastructure to do so.
Following the successful launches of Tea of a Kind and Phyto2GO, the stage is set for applications on new products within a wide variety of market verticals. Gizmo Beverages, Inc. has the exclusive, worldwide rights to the patented Vessl technology across any potential application. We are the single entity that can license and use the rights, and we can sublicense those rights and assign them to third parties. Next-Generation Vessl designs include a dual chamber option, sport cap solution, and a unique hair coloring application.
With distribution throughout the western U.S.; inclusion in major retailers like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Albertsons, c-stores, foodservice and more; and a technology with nearly limitless applicability available for license, Tea of a Kind and its parent Gizmo Beverages have a bright future in the beverage case and beyond.
For more on innovations in fresh food, stay tuned to Deli Market News.