WOW! What A Drink

by Tonya Dixon | July 15th, 2015
WOW! What A Drink Team (Photos by Howard Gaither)

WOW! What A Drink Team (Photos by Howard Gaither)

“If you taste it, you will buy it.” It’s as simple as that. It’s also the motto for family owned and operated, natural beverage company, Wow! What a Drink. The consensus has come in. Almost assuredly, those who taste it, invariably purchase it. Made from real fruit and mostly water, Wow! What a Drink got its name from the reaction it always garnered once people tasted of its deliciousness. “Wow,” that’s good or “Wow” what is that? Or even Wow! How did you make that? It became so commonplace that the name stuck.

During family prayer time, owners and juice connoisseurs, Erika Hendrix and Kimberly Perkins along with other family members often discussed being a food vendor at the North Carolina A&T homecoming. Discussions continued, but the family never moved forward. However in 2010, everything changed. the WOW! Team made a concerted decision that another year would not pass without the family stepping out on their desire for entrepreneurship.

To keep the ball rolling and not fall prey to procrastination, the WOW! Team applied to be vendors, selling only tea and lemonade, unlike others who sold food. Unfortunately, their application was provisionally denied. They were told unless they came up with a better idea they would surely be unsuccessful. The team’s fight and determination was spurred like never before. “He shouldn’t have told us no and that we wouldn’t be successful because a no means yes to us,” Kim says. “We didn’t know if we would make money. We just really wanted to make sure we recouped the money we put in and to prove him wrong.” The only problem was that the family barely had two months to develop and perfect flavored drinks that people would enjoy and purchase. Through lots of testing, trials, retesting and many errors in their own kitchens, WOW! What a Drink was born. The initial flavors included the still best-selling strawberry lemonade and peach tea as well as pink lemonade and regular lemonade and tea.

Their determination paid off. They recouped their financial investment several times over. Within a day and a half of being at the homecoming they were completely sold out of the 20, five gallon buckets of each flavor. The next batch sold in even less time. The WOW! Team knew they had something special on their hands. From the time they launched out until the present, they have been hounded by people trying to decipher their secret recipe — to no avail. According to Perkins, their recipes are simple with real fruit, but that’s about all she will divulge. The family is adamant about keeping their successful drinks within the family.

Staying true to their motto, the group has always been eager to let patrons try before they buy, because certainly “if you taste it, you will buy it.” WOW! What A Drink doesn’t have any artificial flavors or additives. Every drink is made from fresh fruit, most from local farms, never powdered.
Each year the team attempts to roll out at least two new flavors. Following the initial flavors they introduced mango tea, passionfruit lemonade and orange pineapple lemonade. This year the desire is to develop slushies and smoothies of the same flavors as well.

The WOW! Team spend a great deal of time selling the drinks at various festivals and events, particularly college campuses and outdoor events. From Georgia to Virginia, the brand is quickly developing a delicious reputation and dedicated following. The bold, bright colors of the drinks are often what catches the eyes of passersby. Once they inquire and taste a sample, as Perkins puts it, it’s a wrap. Another customer becomes a believer. Almost as quickly as the drinks can be made they are almost always sold out. The team sells different flavors for basically any event from individual cups to half gallons to five gallon buckets.

While the drink hasn’t yet made it to store shelves, orders can be placed via email or the WOW! What a Drink Facebook page, which keeps patrons happy and the team busy. However, both Hendrix and Perkins admit the ultimate goal is to see their branded baby sitting on store shelves. Although the process may take some time, it’s no time they intend on wasting. They’ve already had consultations for bottling, distribution and trademarking and even a juice shop location procurement.

Perkins says when they first started the venture; they would have never imagined the huge response they have received. “Even coaches are interested in the drink because they tell us it works well as an energy drink. It’s like an electrolyte because it has fruit so it’s not taking away from [the body] rather it’s adding to it.”

“Because the drinks are natural we do know that they mix well together,” Hendrix says. “We even have our own version of the Arnold Palmer, only we call it ‘The Obama.”

Summer months are huge for the brand. The team, which includes six adults and two children, already has several events lined up including North Carolina A&T Homecoming – where it all began. Additionally, every third Thursday patrons anxiously wait for the brand to set up shop at the Greensboro City Market. At some events, chicken and fish baskets have been successfully added to the Wow! repertoire. Nevertheless, the focus will always remain on the all-natural teas and lemonades.

As the brand grows the team makes sure never to forsake giving back to and through the community that supports their efforts. Often times the group donates a percentage of their earnings to local charities such as the cancer society or the Children’s Home Society.

According to the WOW! Team, the blessing is not only in the invention of the flavored drinks, but in the many doors that have been opened to a group of people who initially didn’t know what they were doing. All they knew was that they prayed for the opportunity and a path was made. Clearly, the path has been a fantastic benefit for the WOW! team as well as its satisfied customers.

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