Delisting of can business bogs down Jones Soda results

by Eric Schroeder
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Jones Soda 12-oz cans
 Jones Soda's sales were dragged down by the loss of the company’s 12-oz can business at a national retailer.
 

SEATTLE — Jones Soda Co. sustained a loss of $211,000 in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, dragged down by the loss of the company’s 12-oz can business at a national retailer. In the third quarter a year ago the company posted net income of $69,000.

The delisting of the can business, coupled with softness in the glass bottle business in a few regions, also weighed on revenues, which fell 11% during the quarter to $3,648,000, down from $4,083,000 a year ago.

Despite the challenges, Jones Soda is optimistic about future growth, Jennifer L. Cue, president and chief executive officer, told analysts during a Nov. 9 conference call.

Jennifer Cue, Jones Soda
Jennifer Cue, president and c.e.o. of Jones Soda

“While we had challenges in this quarter and this year, we have managed well through this and are looking forward to the future,” she said. “Our disciplined operations have allowed us to power through the can delisting while still building upon our growth initiatives. We are at a critical juncture now with some new and exciting initiatives, and our legacy brand in the ever-evolving craft soda segment of the industry.”

Two of the exciting initiatives on tap for Jones Soda are Lemoncocco and the Jones Cane Sugar fountain program.

Ms. Cue said Jones Soda’s Cane Sugar fountain business is up 200% year to date, and the company has experienced growth in a combination of small quick-service restaurants, corporate accounts and convenience chains.

Jones Soda cane sugar fountain
Jones Soda’s Cane Sugar fountain business is up 200% year to date.
 

“We launched the first-ever Cane Sugar fountain for 7-Eleven at 400 of their Pacific Northwest locations with our green apple s.k.u. (stock-keeping unit), and this has gone very well,” she said. “We are excited to learn we will maintain our fountain head here, and are working with 7-Eleven to consider new flavors to change up for 2018 and beyond.”

Ms. Cue said Jones Soda has received requests for other beverages besides sodas, and as such has begun offering juices, teas and sparkling waters in test locations.

Jones Soda also is excited about its other growth initiative. Inspired by a popular refresher found in Rome, Lemoncocco is a premium, noncarbonated blended beverage flavored with extracts of Sicilian lemons and coconut cream with a hint of cane sugar.

Jones Soda Lemoncocco
Lemoncocco is a premium, noncarbonated blended beverage flavored with extracts of Sicilian lemons and coconut cream with a hint of cane sugar.
 

During the third quarter Jones Soda expanded Lemoncocco’s presence to Whole Foods divisions in New York, New Jersey and Western Canada, as well as 200 Safeway supermarkets and 150 Raley’s stores in the northern California market.

“All totaled, we have added approximately 1,300 new chain retail doors to Lemoncocco in 2017, which goes to show the clear acceptance of this brand at retail,” Ms. Cue said. 
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