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The oldest and largest water producer in the country is seeking to further diversify its offerings in a tough economic climate, targeting production of the Rock Star energy drink as a means to kick-start sales.
Jeffrey Knowles, the operations manager at Aquapure, told Guardian Business, "You have to diversity if you're going to make it."
Although traditionally focused on water and juices, Knowles said the more the company can fill it's 25 delivery trucks, the more efficient it can be.
"We have to get Rock Star going," he said.
"It makes a lot of sense to launch this product. We have our energy going towards that, and if it's successful we'll look at other products."
Knowles explained that Rock Star is a popular beverage among younger customers in the 20-to-35 range. This demographic, he added, tends to be very active and will consume a great deal of fluids. Aquapure has embarked on a marketing campaign with Rock Star at a series of events that are popular among young people, such as night clubs and beach parties.
After that, if all goes well, the company intends to begin production of the energy drink.
"We probably have one of the largest distribution networks in our business," he said.
"In that sense, we want to add to our capacity. The more options you add to the public, the more business you get. Everything is diversification these says. You have to diversify if you're going to make it. The competition is so great out there, and certainly for drinks."
One of the main reasons for the diversification, he explained, is Nestle, the multinational company. According to Knowles, Nestle is "trying to corner the market", and "they produce the cheapest water there is".
He said local production companies, such as Aquapure, have struggled, and producers need to be more protected by finding ways to reduce their operating costs.
"When it comes to basic necessities like water, you need to protect and make sure people here are producing it," he said, citing the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and the need for extra water supplies.
Another method Aquapure is implementing to increase sales is a marketing partner with Bahamas Speed Week (BSW), which held its opening ceremony on Tuesday.
Together with Jimmie Lowe, the president of BSW, the company is producing 24,000 bottles of specially labeled bottles for the festivities. Although the actual investment is modest, the concept behind the campaign is to improve visibility for the company.
"We do it more for the support of the function. It gets our name out there, shows the diversity of the company."
Knowles said Aquapure is considering including Rock Star in BSW, but instead decided to roll the new product out slowly to ensure its success.
2 New BTC Stores in 3 Days -- Member of Parliament for High Rock Kenneth Russell prepares to cut the ribbon on BTC's remodeled High Rock store February 13. It was the second BTC store in Grand Bahama to re-open in three days after rebuild and transformation.
FREEPORT, Bahamas- Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Co Ltd. (BBBC) is about to launch "Bush Crack" in the domestic market - the first local beer to retail in a 16-ounce can.
With about 22.5-to-23 percent of the beer market in The Bahamas now in the BBBC camp, according to sales and marketing manager Lynden Johnson, the company is hoping the new 16-ounce can along with the quality of the product will make it a hit with Bahamians. It could also mean a bigger share of the domestic market for the Grand Bahama based brewers.
"With the introduction of Bush Crack, we will be able to get no less than 30 percent of the market in The Bahamas," Johnson said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.
While he did not disclose what that translated to in dollar or volume sales, Johnson did say the size of the local market was around 2.6 million cases of beer per annum. BBBC has no problem 'co-existing' with the other local brewers, according to Johnson, but added that as the only 100 percent Bahamian-owned brewery the company is aiming to make its product-line the 'go-to' beers for Bahamians.
BBBC is targeting the segment of the local market now dominated by foreign beers retailing in16-ounce cans. BBBC General Manager Donald Delahey said Bush Crack provides a high quality, locally brewed alternative to the popular 16-ounce Colt 45 or Busch offers.
With a price point Johnson said would be 'competitive', he anticipates 3-for-$5, or 3-for-$6 retail specials for 5.8 percent alcohol content beer should be well received by the local market.
BBBC hosted a team of 11 managers and directors associated with Atlantis' newest restaurant,Virgil's, to a brewery-tour and sampling opportunity at its Freeport, Grand Bahama plant yesterday. Virgil's has an exclusive to serve the beer on draft.
Johnson said he's hoping the excitement that is building from the vote of confidence cast by Virgil's in choosing Bush Crack will carry over to the local market.
With it's 'Real Barbecue' theme, Virgil's customers have come to expect a broad range of quality beers, according to the Virgil's general manager Amaaris Pichardo. They will also serve the rest of the brewery's line of beer products. The restaurant opens on November 1.
Bush Crack is described as a gold-yellow color beer with a mild bitterness and a tangy, full-bodied taste profile, BBBC's Brew Master Dieter Stich told Guardian Business yesterday.
BBBC is busy crafting another new product as well. The ale they are aiming for would have a darker color and fuller-body than Bush Crack. That product may come to market as early as December, although BBBC is currently gearing up for a January release, Delahey said.
There will be an exclusivity agreement for distribution of that beer with Atlantis, Guardian Business has learned. That beer will likely only be available at its restaurants on tap.
BBBC now has Sands, Sands Light, Strong Back and High Rock in its product line-up. The company won Belgium's Monde Selection Grand Gold for its Strong Back beer in 2010, along with the Gold for the High Rock beer that year.
The Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company is boosting its presence in the retail wine and spirits business by constructing a warehouse and distribution facility in New Providence.
Head of the brewery, James Sands, said the warehouse has broken ground near the corner of Nassau Street and West Bay Street. The company is coming off the opening of a new Jimmy's Liquor Store in Eleuthera earlier this year, and by beefing up its distribution network, it hopes to grow these retail centers.
There are currently six Jimmy's Liquor Stores in The Bahamas, with one in Grand Bahama, one in Eleuthera and four in Nassau.
The brewery chief is no stranger to the liquor store market. In 2000, he sold his stake in the popular Butler & Sands franchise.
While his new string of stores are relatively modest, he feels "it could definitely grow".
"Right now we have a warehouse on Wulff Road, but we've outgrown that," Sands said. "What I hope to achieve is stronger distribution. The idea is to eventually open more outlets."
This new warehouse will provide a conduit for the existing facility in Grand Bahama, he added.
Sands told Guardian Business that he has achieved distribution rights to Cutty Shark, Pinnacle Vodka, Ace of Spades champaigne and many other brands.
The disclosure comes as the locally-owned brewery is reporting an 18 percent increase in production in the last fiscal year, which ended on March 31. New products and a lucrative alliance with Virgil's, Atlantis' new $10 million restaurant, have helped place the brewery more on the map.
Sands said the company's main product, appropriately called "Sands", remains the "powerhouse". Sales of High Rock, Strongback and the new Bush Crack Beer have remained strong, although he believes 2012 will involve greater marketing campaigns to instill national pride in the home-brewed ales.
"We are trying to increase our advertising and promotions to support that idea. In most countries, people take great pride in the beers produced there. Unfortunately, Bahamians have not taken the same pride. A campaign of being Bahamian and proud is our focus. We want to restore that pride."
The brewery has purchased and branded four sculling boats as part of this initiative, Sands told Guardian Business, which will take part in this weekend's high-profile Exuma Regatta.
In terms of Virgil's, the exclusivity agreement to serve only Sands beers on tap has provided further marketing and served as a reliable spot of business.
Sands said "it has worked well into our portfolio", and he remains interested in other agreements with local restauranteurs.
Last month, the brewery chief told Guardian Business that he intends on capturing up to 50 percent of the market from rival foreign brands.
Bush Crack Beer, the latest offering, is the fifth beer produced in Grand Bahama.
A competitive price for the 16-ounce can has led to strong demand despite only a few months on the market. Virgil's at Atlantis is the only place where this beer is available on draft.
Given the economic crisis now affecting Freeport and Grand Bahama, an action task force committee should be formed under the direction and auspices of government, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and Licensees to determine and effect both short- and long-term solutions.
Last Wednesday evening Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company launched its fourth beer, High Rock, a premium lager beer. The newest addition to the brewery’s line of successful beers is a higher end lager, delivering a crisp and refreshing taste with a bolder constitution.
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company has invested $240,000 in the reopening of two stores in Grand Bahama in just three days.
The stores on Pioneers Way and High Rock represent projects number two and three on a laundry list of major renovations and openings through the country for BTC.
More than 100 Bahamians found employment through the two renovations.
The openings follow the unveiling of BTC's new flagship store in Mall at Marathon last month, bringing the firm's total investment up to three-quarters of a million.
In all, 46 more openings and refurbishments will occur this year.
"The new concept fits the BTC vision of offering better choices for its customers," said Marlon Johnson, vice president of Brand and Communication, in reference to the opening at High Rock. "Now, people of East Grand Bahama can do much more than pay a bill and can access all of the latest telecommunications technology in their own community."
Whereas previously the High Rock branch only offered a basic payment center, the 160 square-foot store will now offer the technology and conveniences of a modern retial store.
Internet, land-line packages and full cellular services are now provided out of the east Grand Bahama store.
The roll out of retail offerings also coincides with BTC's 4G launch late last year, an initiative that cost the firm tens of million in network infrastructure.
Neko Grant, the minister of public works and Transport, is also the MP of Lucaya.
He was on hand for the reopening of the much larger Pioneers Way retail store.
"We are grateful that this project by BTC to demolish and rebuild has resulted in the creation of various job opportunities on Grand Bahama," Grant said in a statement. "I am told that during the life of the project to re-create this area now occupied b the store, approximately one hundred Grand Bahamians in the construction industry were employed to complete necessary works. As Minister of Public Works, I have been impressed by the reports regarding the efficiency of the work schedule of this project to renovate this 2,000 square-foot space."
Similar to the Junkanoo theme at the flagship store at Mall at Marathon, BTC employed local artists to produce Bahamian-themed art for the walls at the Pioneer Way store.
Lamaro Smith and FDK Laminators & Graphic Dsign were commissioned to produce the 216-square-door mural of fishermen.
Other staff was hired for the grand opening weekend.
The next scheduled openings are scheduled for March in Exuma and Abaco.
BTC is currently in the midst of a new retail strategy whereby it is expanding its services throughout the country. The company is also keen to create more small business opportunities by invited qualified entrepreneurs to create stores and booths to sell the products.
"The majority of the new stores and kiosks will be owned and operated by Bahamians," Johnson said in an earlier interview. "We are refurbishing a lot of our exiting properties and looking to create opportunities for people who want to open small centers or kiosks in existing stores as well."
The CEO of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) said he expects to launch 10 flagship stores across the country over the next 14 to 16 weeks, and bring the first franchisee to market by the end of the month.
Geoff Houston revealed that as many as 400 jobs should be created through this expansion.
BTC is indeed in the midst of an aggressive retail explosion since coming out with its much-anticipated 4G network late last year.
Beginning in New Providence and moving on to Grand Bahama, Houston told Guardian Business that more stores in Exuma, Abaco and other Family Islands are now in the sights of the telecommunications provider.
However, while the launch of the flagship stores is being seen as a major move, the BTC chief said bringing in franchisees "is a whole new business model for us".
"That is taking longer than we anticipated," he added.
"It's a whole new way of doing business that we have set up, but after that we expect it to fly. We hope to license at least 30 to 40 stores owned by other people over the next 12 to 18 months."
Houston downplayed the expansion's potential to BTC's bottom line, and instead highlighted how it will prepare the company for competition.
"It will protect the business so we can provide a better level of service to customers," he explained.
From an everyday Bahamian perspective, it's also about creating jobs, he noted, with 300 to 400 projected during this period.
In terms of next year, Houston reported BTC should undergo a period of consolidation by taking stock of its gains, finishing the 4G network and completing the restructuring of the business.
He said the company will "fix up our pricing at bit more".
By the end of the March, BTC plans to introduce a new billing system for prepaid, Houston added. A new voicemail platform and a texting platform is also on the agenda.
Despite all the change he said, "we need a period to settle down."
Last month, Guardian Business reported the two store reopenings in Grand Bahama - on Pioneers Way and High Rock - represented a $240,000 investment and 100 jobs for Bahamians.
These reopenings followed the unveiling of BTC's new flagship store in the Mall at Marathon in January.
"The new concept fits the BTC vision of offering better choices for its customers," said Marlon Johnson, vice president of marketing and brand communications, in reference to the opening at High Rock. "Now, people of East Grand Bahama can do much more than pay a bill and can access all of the latest telecommunications technology in their own community."
Whereas previously the High Rock branch only offered a basic payment center, the 160-square-foot store now provides the technology and conveniences of a modern retail store.
Similar improvements to products and services are expected across the Family Islands