After two successful years in business, local beverage start-up Vista has opened its own manufacturing facility, funded by a major investment deal closed earlier this year.
Vista’s naturally flavoured sparkling water will now be manufactured at the new production facility in East Tamaki, with the first full production run scheduled for next week after a series of trial runs last month. The facility opening will create four new jobs, with a newly hired full-time production manager and Vista in the process of recruiting three warehouse packers.
The move from contract manufacturing to in-house production will enable Vista to reduce costs, maintain tighter quality control and manufacture the beverage at short notice, a significant step in its rivalry against the global soft drink giants it competes with.
Vista’s new production line has the capacity to run up to 800,000 cans per month, allowing the start-up to diversify and create additional revenue streams by contract manufacturing for other beverage brands. The manufacturing facility, named Free Flow Manufacturing, will specialise in the production of canned drinks, strictly avoiding PET packaging due to its environmental footprint.
Vista and Free Flow co-founder Scott Day said the consumption of canned beverages is growing rapidly in New Zealand, but until now manufacturing has been a significant barrier to entry for start-ups.
“Contract manufacturing is generally the only viable option for a start-up, as the costs involved in building a manufacturing facility are huge, but previously there was little competition in pricing and long lead times, with only a couple of contract manufacturers operating in New Zealand,” said Day.
“We hope to provide an affordable, reliable contract manufacturing service for Kiwi beverage start-ups and we’ve had plenty of interest already, with one RTD brand contracted to start manufacturing its product in our facility later this month.”
The facility opening comes just seven months after Vista secured an investment deal with property developer and investor Kurt Gibbons. In his deal with Vista, Gibbons committed to a lump sum cash injection north of $300,000 and an interest-free line of credit in return for a 25 per cent stake in the burgeoning business.
Following Gibbons’ investment in February, the sparkling water brand has invested heavily in marketing, leading to strong sales figures through autumn and winter.
“The chilled beverage category as a whole generally declines around 70% from summer to winter, but we’ve seen consistent sales figures month-to-month throughout the cooler seasons, holding our numbers from the peak summer and Christmas period."
“This is fairly unprecedented in the beverage category and indicates considerable growth in brand awareness, so we’re anticipating a very successful summer.”