Heavy interviewed founder David Meniane about the story behind the beverage. Here’s what he told us.
1. A Husband & Wife Team Are Behind It
David and Deborah Meniane, who were both born in Paris, are the dynamic duo behind the drink. “We are a great team, very complimentary and we work well together,” David said. Although they do everything from sales, manufacturing and merchandising, they work with suppliers, carriers and manufacturers on a daily basis.
2. The Recipe Came From David’s French Grandmother
David’s grandmother, Victoria, is the product’s namesake. She spent her childhood in Nice, located in the south of France. “This is where she started drinking homemade almond water or “orgeat” as it’s called there. It is a popular beverage in the region and is also very popular in Mediterranean countries like Greece, Italy and Turkey.” David said.
Her loving grandson makes sure to include her in the company at every opportunity. For one thing, her picture is on every bottle of water they produce. “My grandmother is such an amazing woman. All she talks about is family and food. She shows her love through her cooking,” he said. “We wanted our products to reflect that. Our beverages are about love and family traditions.”
As far as the recipe, they try to keep it as close to her original one as possible. “We had to make a few changes in the original recipe to make sure we could manufacture it in large quantities and we also had to make sure the product was shelf-stable,” he said. They also provide the recipe on their website. When asked why he divulges it, he said, “Because I want people to experience the homemade recipe like I did when I was growing up. My grandmother has never been shy about sharing her recipes.”
3. Original & Coconut Are the Bestsellers
The original almond water is their best seller. However, the coconut water is approaching in sales.
They recently released organic Ginger Lemonade, and David said it is already a “huge success.” Since it is low in calories and organic, he sees it one day possibly surpassing the sales of their almond water.
Their website is replete with cocktail recipes that are submitted by mixologists, bartenders and even some social media followers.
4. Their 1st Production Run Was in 2011
They began by going door to door around Los Angeles to a few independent stores, which resulted in them opening a few accounts. In January of 2012, they debuted at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, which is when they really began to grow and open larger accounts.
5. ‘Shark Tank’ Was an ‘Out-of-Body Experience’
When asked if he was nervous to face the sharks, David said, “It was a complete out-of-body like experience! It was one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done…We had a huge adrenaline rush. It was like being on a cloud.”
His experience with the investors was surreal, especially since David endured obstacles to get to where he is today. “I was telling myself that 15 years ago I moved to the US without speaking a word of English and right there I was having a conversation with Mark Cuban – one on one,” he gushed.
He also wanted to reiterate how professionally the sharks handle the process. “The sharks invest their own money so they definitely take the whole process very seriously. When you talk to them, you almost forget about the cameras because it’s just a normal business conversation,” he explained.