Walter Nimocks, Founder and CEO of Just Made Juice, talks about the beverage business and how he is growing his business.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio, Texasbusinessradio.com. I’m your host Matt Register, Jay Curry’s the one sitting over there in the co-host chair. We’re gonna talk a little bit about food this segment. You know, food is a big business, food preparation, restaurants, we’re gonna talk a little bit about juice and juice bottling, we have a company in here out of the Woodlands Texas that makes some very good, I just tried some, very very good juices with some very interesting flavors and that is an interesting business and a very complex and very ultra-competitive business. We’re gonna get into that in just a second. What do you think Jay?
Jay Curry: I just love it, you know we say it thousands and thousands of times I guess, but find a niche, find a need, build a response and you can build a heck of a business out of it and that’s what Walter’s gonna tell us about.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt, Walter Nimocks is the president and owner of Just Made juices, Walter welcome to the show sir.
Walter Nimocks: Thanks, great to be here.
Matt Register: So talk to me a little bit about Just Made juices, what do you have going on here?
Walter Nimocks: Well we’ve got seven items, they’re all tropical juice blends and we add in a functional ingredient. We’ve got seven of these blends that we’re currently selling in HEB stores and started the business about 2016 and things have kinda developed and we’ve got these blends that we started off blending ourselves, creating myself in the kitchen, working with my family. And we took them up to Texas A&M, they helped refine the blends a little bit for us and got them up to a commercial level and off we went, we started bottling and trying to sell them.
Matt Register: Let’s back up just a little bit cause you said a couple things I’m trying to figure out here. So these are natural juices, mixes of different flavors of juices to make a tropical juice drink. The functional ingredient you add in, the purpose is for what?
Walter Nimocks: Well we add in different functional ingredients. So we add in ginger, ginger for example is an excellent antioxidant, it’s also great for digestion, helps with nausea and seasickness and things like that. We add in tumeric, tumeric is an antiinflammatory and it helps with sore muscles, achy joints, that kinda thing. A lot of people are taking tumeric now instead of ibuprofen or Advil. So that’s another one.
We add in maca root, maca is great for mental focus.
Matt Register: Now these don’t necessarily affect the flavor, but so you can mix together a tasty drink with multiple fruits and then add the functional ingredient to do something else that doesn’t necessarily add or take away from the flavor.
Walter Nimocks: That’s exactly right. The ginger adds a nice flavor to some different blends, tumeric has a nice flavor as well, but for the most part the flavor comes through in the tropical juices themselves. So we use a lot of passion fruit, pineapple, red dragon fruit or also known as pitaya as well. We have a mango based drink, we’re developing one that has pink guava in it. So they’re all tropical blends and as you’ve mentioned it’s a very competitive category so we were trying to look for what’s new and unique and would really stand out on a shelf.
Jay Curry: Also be healthy, right? That’s kinda your purpose is to add a little health to this so that people get more than just the …
Matt Register: Well we had a little taste test during the break and I can tell you they’re delicious, I like them, they taste very very good in individual serving bottles, right? That you can get at HEB, also you sell them on the website as well, right?
Walter Nimocks: That’s right, we sell them online as well. And yeah, like you were saying, Jay, there’s a 12 ounce bottle it’s loaded with vitamin C, potassium, different blends have different profiles. But we don’t add any sugar and that’s really important for …
Matt Register: Just use natural sugar from the fruit itself?
Walter Nimocks: Just the sugar from the fruit itself, that’s right.
Jay Curry: So it’s really a category of health juice drink, that’d be right?
Walter Nimocks: Yeah. That’s right.
Jay Curry: Well that’s hot right now, people want to have something like that that’s good but also good for you.
Walter Nimocks: Correct, yeah, everybody’s looking for convenience and they’re looking for something new. In fact the tagline under our brand Just Made is “explore your world.” And so we’re giving people an opportunity to experience different cultures through the food that they eat.
Matt Register: Sure, because all of the fruit is Latin American or otherwise not something that’s native to Southeast Texas, right?
Walter Nimocks: That’s right.
Matt Register: So tell me a little bit about, because on your bottle it mentions the five cent per bottle donation if you will, talk to me a little bit about the social side of this brand.
Walter Nimocks: Sure, so for every bottle that we sell we donate five cents to support education in the countries that we’re sourcing our ingredients from. And so it’s kind of, 100% of that money goes to supporting teachers and supporting schools. We just finished working with a school in Central Mexico. We helped with some of the infrastructure, we rebuilt the bathrooms and the plumbing, it’s a school that has 81 kids, first through sixth grade, three teachers, a director, and they receive no government support. And so they just needed some basic infrastructure. Our dream is also to help with teacher training.
So we would pay for the travel to, let’s say they need to go to Mexico City to do some training and some updating in their career. And this idea really came from my wife, she’s an educator, has been for years and she works for Conroe
independent school district.
Matt Register: Okay, interesting stuff. Now talk me through the process of starting a drink brand, because again this is an ultra competitive market, right, there’s drink brands out there fighting for shelf space all over the place and it is a very very cutthroat business. Now starting a new brand, you gotta find shelf space somewhere, right?
Walter Nimocks: That’s right, yeah. Well, I mean it starts with developing a great product and we feel like we develop some terrific blends that are unique. You have to have something that’s different, something that the consumer’s going to pick up and say, “Wow, this is unique, I really like this and I’m gonna buy it a second time and a third time and a fourth time.”
Matt Register: Sure. Well unique in and of itself isn’t the answer right? I mean you can make something unique and weird and nobody wants it, it’s gotta be unique and something that they love.
Walter Nimocks: That’s right, that’s right. So as I was saying a little bit earlier we started developing these blends, we worked with Texas A&M to refine them, we registered the brand name and developed packaging, I outsourced the graphics work on the packaging, found a bottle supplier, cap supplier, all that sort of stuff. Then started looking around for co-packers that could help bottle it for me and another thing is all of our juices use high pressure processing, which is ultra-high pressure that helps to extend the shelf life of the products. We get close to 75 days shelf life on ours.
Matt Register: Now the high pressure process is in lieu of what kind of process?
Walter Nimocks: Well instead of using heat. So you can use heat with pasteurization, but that destroys the nutrients, it destroys the flavor. The high pressure processing uses no heat, in fact it’s processed at around 36, 37 degrees Fahrenheit and so it helps to hold the nutrients and hold the flavor of the juices and it just uses pressure and it’s really high pressure, it helps to break down the bacteria.
Matt Register: But it does the same purpose as the pasteurization process?
Walter Nimocks: Yeah ,that’s right, it does the same thing.
Matt Register: Okay, interesting. What’s the easiest way for somebody to go get their hands on some of this stuff if they want to?
Walter Nimocks: Well ,visit your local HEB and we’re in 167 last count, 167 HEB stores. We’re also sell online at justmadejuice.com. We’re looking to expand distribution up through the Midwest into Oklahoma, talking with some retailers in Oklahoma and Illinois right now.
Matt Register: Well if you own retail stores, and you wanna have this product, it’s a tasty product. I would buy this product, my wife would buy this product. Justmadejuice.com is the website, we’re gonna have the link right there. From texasbusinessradio.com. Walter Nimocks is the president and owner of Just Made juices, thank you very much for joining us.
Walter Nimocks: It was a pleasure to be here, thanks a lot.
Matt Register: Yeah, absolutely, justmadejuice.com or go to HEB, but we love our friends over at HEB, get over there, find some of this stuff. It is really really delicious juice. We do in fact have to go pay some of our own bills so we’re gonna be back right on the other side of the break. What do you think Jay, we’re gonna do a little more of this?
Jay Curry: Yeah, this is fun, and this is a great story, let’s do some more.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. All right guys, we’ll be back right on the other side of the break, don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.