Founded in 2013, Bevi is a Boston-based startup bringing customizable, healthy hydration to commercial spaces across the US and Canada. With offices now in Boston, New York, and San Francisco, they continue to grow their healthy flavor offerings and constantly strive to bring the next level of customization to the Bevi hydration experience.
Bevi is on a mission to replace mass-produced bottled beverages with custom drinks mixed at the point of use. From their proactive monitoring software to intuitive touchscreen UX, they’re changing the way the world thinks about personalized beverages using user-centered design.
Total Food Service sat down with Katie Rooney, Director of Growth Marketing, and Mario Payssé, Director of Sales, National Accounts and Channel Partners, to discuss the Bevi vision and how their all-in-one beverage service is a perfect addition to any foodservice operation.
Can you share a quick history of Bevi? The visionary entrepreneurs behind the company?
Our Co-Founder and Head of Product, Eliza Becton, was an avid sailor growing up, and became a dedicated ocean steward as a result. While studying industrial design at RISD, she learned about the Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive collection of floating garbage largely made of single-use plastics. Given her background, she naturally began thinking of creative solutions to “out design” single-use plastics, in particular bottled water. How could she encourage people to drink tap water instead of relying on bottled water? The idea for Bevi was born. Today, our smart water dispensers encourage users to refill their reusable bottles with customizable still or sparkling flavored water, all powered by the municipal water system. To date, Bevi has helped divert over 65 million plastic bottles from our landfills and oceans.
Who was the target customer when they launched? How has the customer base evolved?
Some of our earliest customers were tech companies and startups in the Boston, New York City, and San Francisco areas. Many of these companies were looking for cutting-edge ways to make their offices more sustainable, while delighting employees with an extra perk. Since then, we have become a popular must-have in corporate offices in a variety of industries across the US and Canada. We are also gaining more traction in hotels, gyms, hospitals and universities that are looking to provide their patrons with healthy beverage options, as well as reduce labor time through innovative technology.
@Katie: What were you doing before coming to Bevi?
@Mario… your path to Bevi?
Katie: I previously worked for an energy efficiency company, educating homeowners one-on-one and helping them make easy home improvements that would both boost energy efficiency and reduce costs. I witnessed firsthand how it’s more effective to get people to create sustainable habits if you make going green easier than the alternative. This is why I joined the Bevi team: our product allows for more beverage customization than bottles and cans, making it easier for people to leave their single-use, bottled beverages behind.
Mario: Prior to Bevi, I worked for the largest PepsiCo Bottler in Latin America; Before that, I was with Primo Water, a company that sells bulk water solutions to retailers. My path to Bevi was driven by one of the Co-Founders, Sean Grundy. Initially, he connected with me to discuss clean water initiatives and the types of equipment used by the water industry. Once he began telling me about Bevi, I was hooked. The opportunity to disrupt an archaic and extremely inefficient model of supply chain fascinated me. Ultimately, I joined the Bevi team to help build a company that is truly making a positive impact on both the environment and people by offering healthy beverages mixed at point-of-use.
Bevi is entering a niche that has been traditionally filled by Coke and Pepsi. Why should a foodservice operator look to switch?
First and foremost, we are a mission-driven company that aims to eliminate single-use plastic in the bottled beverage industry. In other words, we’re striving to unbottle the future. When creating and optimizing our machines, we take a user-centered design approach and strive for a delightful yet simple user experience for everyone. Additionally, we believe that how our users stay healthy and hydrated is their choice to make. That’s why we offer a variety of flavors that range from unsweetened to sweetened, zero-calorie to low-calorie. Ultimately, Bevi checks all the boxes: it provides healthy, customizable options, while eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles.
The Bevi dispensing unit looks very user friendly. Should a foodservice operator be looking at Bevi as a self-service unit or as a back of the house item controlled by employees?
With a simple user interface, our machines are flexible enough to be used as both a self-service unit and a back of the house item.
Are healthy and infused waters here to stay or are they a fad?
The health trend is definitely here to stay. Soda sales are consistently declining, while sparkling and flavored water drinks are on the rise. Brands are now seeking healthy product options to combat this decline.
How has Bevi’s flavor portfolio evolved?
We are constantly analyzing the latest beverage trends to develop new, mouthwatering flavors. Our flavor portfolio includes tried-and-true citrus flavors such as Grapefruit and Key Lime, as well as more unique combinations like Strawberry Lemongrass and Peach Mango.
That being said, our Bevi machines give users the power to customize and mix flavors, so we like to think new flavors are being developed each and everyday. Unlike the standardized flavors that big brands sell in bottles, our customization features allow for more personalization, so users can create drinks that best fit their tastes and desire for bubbles. We are constantly pushing the envelope to add more customization features, aiming to create the most delightful and personal user experience.
Are foodservice operators selling Bevi or do they provide it free to their customers?
Our machine lends itself to both models and can adapt to both kinds of cafeterias. For example, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University provides Bevi for free to students as part of their meal plan. We have some customers who charge for Bevi as a fountain drink and others who provide it for free.
How can you incorporate a Bevi machine’s offerings in a cocktail menu?
This is a question we get all the time— and it’s one of our favorites. We actually have a list of Bevi-inspired cocktail and mocktail recipes. You can download it here. We also feature a few recipes on our blog, such as a Pina Colada and Watermelon Mojito. Bevi is a great machine to have if you frequently host happy hours or other boozy events since it eliminates the need to purchase large bottles of carbonated water or seltzer.
How does the product differ from competitive products including Soda Stream that are in the marketplace?
SodaStream is not an ideal solution for a high volume scenario like foodservice. Our machines offer a high capacity beverage solution, while also appealing to a variety of taste profiles. Furthermore, our machine’s consumables tracking capabilities and the online dashboard that displays this information makes it easy for food service teams to monitor their Bevi machine and keep it fully stocked. We know food service teams already have a lot of recurring responsibilities, so our smart water machine is designed to take the guesswork out of monitoring and restocking.