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Press

BEVERAGE BUSINESS INSIGHTS

published 100+x a year
Vol 17 No 98  | May 19, 2020
Publisher: Benj Steinman   Editor: Gerry Khermouch    Senior Editor: Jim Sullivan


In This Issue:
 

  • JAB Says JDE Peet’s IPO Likely to Happen ‘in Coming Weeks’ on Amsterdam Exchange; Co Grew 3.1% to €6.9 Bil Last Year
  • PRESS CLIPS: OJ Getting Big Lift during Covid-19 Pantry Loading
  • TCP Group Says It’s Stepping Up China Investment behind Red Bull
  • PROFILE: NY-Based Oasis Snacks Carves Out Ecomm Role for Bevcos Large & Small; Harnesses Low Freight Rates from Textile Biz to Offer Alternative to Amazon
  • FOLO UP: Revamped Recess Website Went Live Today
  • CORRECTIONS: Anheuser-Busch Investment Is in Ghost Lifestyle RTD Line Only, Not Entire Co; Neman Founded Sweetgreen, Not Sweetleaf


PROFILE: NY-Based Oasis Snacks Carves Out Ecomm Role for Bevcos Large & Small; Harnesses Low Freight Rates from Textile Biz to Offer Alternative to Amazon    Even massive orgs like Walmart have struggled to offer ecomm alternative to Amazon, but NY-based textile importer & exporter who ventured into snacks & bevs a few years ago under Oasis Snacks name has been getting high marks so far from suppliers, who view it as straightforward way to extend their ecomm reach on terms that are often better than Amazon’s.

Based in Manhattan with warehouse in Brooklyn’s burgeoning Industry City makers’ complex, Oasis is operated by brothers Eric and Jeff Kashi.  Eric, 45, has worked in family textile biz for past 20 years and got feet wet in ecomm via platform called LinenStore.com.  He was joined by younger brother after Jeff completed law school 8 years ago.  They ventured modest test into food/bev 3 or 4 years ago, not sure what to expect, and were surprised at how well it went, harnessing preferential freight rates they command by virtue of textile biz.  So a couple of years ago they spun it off into separate entity.  Initially it focused on premium bevs but increasingly has come to embrace mainstream entries too, finding niche providing “oddball flavors,” in Eric’s phrase, that bricks & mortar retailers won’t make room for.  By now local DSD house Big Geyser is biggest supplier, offering range of brands from Essentia and Body Armor to OWYN protein drinks, and Oasis is exclusive online distributor of Hal’s seltzer and snacks brand launched by Big Geyser principals.  There may not be much call for core green-can sku of Monster Energy, which is easily available at any corner, but Oasis moves array of brand’s lesser flavors, Kashi said.  Oasis focuses strictly on non-alcoholic, shelf-stable brands, with exceptions like Brew Dr Kombucha, which can manage ambient route to market with help of icepacks during shipment.

In slowly building biz, the Kashi bros have had to overcome more than their own initial self-skepticism.  Many bevcos got burned badly when another locally based ecomm play, Tal Depot, crashed a year ago (BBI, Apr 15 2019), tho in retrospect some say the warning signs should have been clear all along.  “We were always chasing our money and they were very disorganized,” said one bev exec based in NY.  (Is that really unusual in bevs, tho?)  By contrast, Oasis has “completely understated and overperformed.  They make a lot of custom variety packs and for our suppliers it is far less expensive than dealing with Amazon to fulfill.  Tal never felt right, but these guys are honorable, hardworking, ethical and we are never chasing our money.”  Exec at smaller bevco described Oasis as “great to work with” so far.  Oasis also has had to deal with skepticism from companies that have dispatched execs to inspect the warehouse after assuming that the big volumes Oasis was doing could only be due to transshipping.

In interview today, Kashi told us he and his brother are content to go slowly, spending the family money judiciously.  They’ve been stoking awareness via digital ads, Google buys, postcards inserted in every shipment, email campaigns and even their first radio campaign in NY recently.  By now it’s a national biz, with top destinations being NY, Calif, Texas and Florida.  Pre-coronavirus, small to medium-size offices that don’t maintain their own foodservice operations had been a sweet spot, but that’s tilted now to home buyers lately.  Hamptons vacation area of eastern Long Island where many New Yorkers are riding out virus at 2d homes has “exploded,” he said.  Co also is on radar of customers like Celtics and 49ers pro teams and Nascar crew.  Despite the “snacks” in corporate name, bevs comprise three-quarters or more of total revenues.  As biz grows, Oasis hopes to establish warehouses on West Coast and heartland to improve logistics.  Info at OasisSnacks.com.

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