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Enhanced water could be the most muddled category in the beverage industry. Balance Water contains Australian wildflowers originally used by the Aborigines. Avitae has caffeine. A host of others are alkaline-infused. Aquation is made with xylitol to help your teeth. But if you ask Big Geyser, a renowned non-alcoholic beverage distributor in New York, the water of the future is black.

blk. Beverages, an Oakland, N.J.-based company that markets a fulvic-enhanced mineral water, has signed a distribution agreement with Big Geyser. In a joint release, the companies announced Tuesday a partnership that will take all blk. products into the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Westchester, Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York.

“They’ve been on our radar since day one,” said Christopher Laurita, blk. president and CEO.

Laurita said that since the company’s launch at Natural Products Expo West in June 2011, he’s wanted to partner with Big Geyser, which he called one of the best distributors in the New York region. After years of back-and-forth dialogue with Jerry Reda and Lewis Hershkowitz, the COO and CEO respectively of Big Geyser, Laurita said that the company’s product extensions and maturation into a “buttoned-up” state made this the right time for a deal.

“We didn’t want to jump right in, especially into the most important market,” he said.

With distribution from UNFI, KeHE, Haddon House and Core-Mark, Laurita said that blk. can already be found nationally, with a focus in New York and New Jersey, in retailers like Wegmans, Sheetz and Stop & Shop. However, the deal with Big Geyser represents blk.’s first foray with DSD distribution.

“We like the way they run their business and handle their brands,” Laurita said. “We just want to be a part of that.”

He added that after meeting with Big Geyser this morning, the company will again meet with the distributor in two weeks to form a gradual route-to-market strategy for specialty, health-food and some chain accounts. Laurita wants to establish the brand in a few parts of New York before quickly expanding its footprint.

After establishing the route-to-market strategy, blk. will tweak the label of the original product in an effort to explain the benefits of the fulvic minerals, which creates the black liquid. By adding a new sleeve label, the company will have more real estate to help consumers through the packaging.

“We’re trying to make that education process a little bit more self explanatory,” he said.

The full release follows:

OAKLAND, N.J. — blk. Beverages today announced the signing of a new distribution agreement with Big Geyser, one of the largest distributors of premium non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in the country. Big Geyser will now act as the exclusive distributor of blk. Beverages (blk. and blk.+) with distribution throughout New York City, as well as the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, as well as Westchester, Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

“We are excited about the partnership with Big Geyser and the support they will provide blk. and blk.+ in the New York City-area,” said Chris Laurita, CEO of blk. Beverages. “Big Geyser’s established influence with the biggest brands and products at retail will prove a valuable asset to us as we look to enhance our reach, depth of products, and service in this territory.”

blk. is a fulvic-enhanced mineral water that refreshes the body and balances pH without any calories, sugars or carbs. Big Geyser, a recognized brand-builder of leading non-alcoholic beverages, has serviced the New York City area since 1986 and has grown into a renowned brand that works with some of the largest beverage brands, including Vitamin Water, Honest Tea, ZICO, Monster and V8, among many others. The Big Geyser distributed products are routinely placed in leading retail chains such as Whole Foods, Duane Reade, 7-Eleven and Hess Convenience Stores, among others in New York City.

“We look forward to working with the entire blk. team. We have been watching the brand for some time and we believe it is has many features and benefits unique to our portfolio with great upside potential,” said Jerry Reda, COO of Big Geyser Inc.

About Big Geyser Inc.

Big Geyser, the premier and largest independent, nonalcoholic beverage distributor in New York is a family- owned and operated company founded in 1986. With more than 26,000 accounts within its territory, Big Geyser represents brands from Monster Energy, Coca-Cola, Sparkling Ice, Nestle, Campbell’s and other leading companies. Big Geyser has established itself as the “Go To” beverage distributor in the influential New York metro market and maintains a premium portfolio of brands. Big Geyser directly services all channels of trade in the five boroughs of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk County, Long Island, Westchester and Putnam County. Big Geyser prides itself on building brands and has cultivated an enduring reputation in distribution, delivering an unsurpassed level of customer service, operating 7 days a week 24 hours a day. http://www.biggeyser.com

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