By Kaylee Franklin
As we all know, the beverage industry is blowing up. The beverage industry has been expanding in nearly every category, from kombucha to better-for-you sodas, coffees, vast arrays of water, and more.
With the growing market of beverages, entrepreneurs are finding opportunities in the industry by looking for ways to make it better. And that was the case for Paul Voge, the Co-Founder and CEO of Aura Bora. As a person who was drinking multiple cans of sparkling water a day, Paul realized there wasn’t a brand that was making really unique flavors and felt like there was something lacking. So, he sought to create a sparkling beverage that was set apart from all the other brands. Introducing…Aura Bora.
Aura Bora makes sparkling water from herbs, fruits, and flowers using unique ingredients, like basil, cactus, and lavender for a better tasting experience all while donating 1% of annual revenue to environmental causes. In Episode 117: Persistence and Patience, Lee sat down with Paul to share his story from growing up as the youngest of five, to selling vintage t-shirts in college, to quitting his job to focus full time on building Aura Bora in 2019. He talks about how he dropped off some cans to a buyer of Whole Foods at their corporate office desk, the differences between selling to different grocers, how he's had to change his pitch, and how they came up with the name Aura Bora.
Now, I’ll be honest…I’m not the biggest fan of sparkling water. I’ve never liked La Croix or any of those catchy brand name fizzy waters. Aura Bora was intriguing to me because their packaging is very unique, and they’ve worked hard to offer a different flavor palette compared to the everyday flavors we normally see. What really drew me in was the colors of the cans and the names.
Each can has a cute little orange character on it, and I can’t quite make out what every character is, but one is definitely an owl and another a dragon…or so I think. They are known for their signature five flavors, Lemongrass Coconut, Peppermint Watermelon, Lavender Cucumber, Basil Berry, and Cactus Rose.
Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through a whole case of Aura Bora, I invited a few friends over for a taste test. We didn’t get to try the Peppermint Watermelon flavor, but I made sure to crack open the other four and get everyone’s tasting notes.
First up is Basil Berry. A sparkling water with a blend of basil and berry, simple as that. A few notes we pointed out were that it smelled very fragrant, a good aroma to the drink. When it got to taste, we noted that it has a lot of basil, and not so much strawberries, as listed. Out of the four we got to try, this definitely came in at being on the favorite list due to the freshness of it.
Next on the list is Lemongrass Coconut. This one was a little out there if I’m being honest. My friends and I didn't taste nearly any coconut and got a strong flavor of lemongrass. In reading some reviews, it seems a lot of people experience this flavor the same way. I love the artwork of this can though. The storyline of a beachy vibe from the coconuts is really cute! Still not sure what the animal is.
The third one we tried, which was definitely in the ranks for being in our top two, was Lavender Cucumber. This flavor knocked our socks off! We tasted both the lavender and the cucumber and thought it was the perfect combination. This purple can might just be my favorite. It also smells amazing, and even though I don’t know what the animal on the front is, I love that they have him rowing on a cucumber canoe!
Last up of the waters we tried was Cactus Rose. Similar to the first two flavors we tried, we got hit with a lot of rose flavoring, but I’d say it's not a bad thing. I’ve had some rose-flavored drinks that have completely thrown me off, but having the light cactus flavoring in there was the absolute perfect combo. Oh, and similar to the Basil Berry, this drink smelled amazing.
If you’re a sparkling water connoisseur, I would definitely recommend checking out Aura Bora. Apart from the signature flavors I talked about here, they also do limited-time flavor drops. They are currently offering Ginger Meyer Lemon, and if you’re a loyal fan you get in on all the cool new flavor drops early, such as Tangerine Blossom, Elderflower Grapefruit, Lime Cardamon, Hibiscus Passionfruit, and Chai Cranberry. Doing surprise drops of new flavors can be a great opportunity for the brand to see what flavors do well, and which ones don’t, and learn the flavor palette of their consumers. A great and interesting way for the brand to grow, refine its products and engage with their customers.
If you want to learn more about Aura Bora and their out-of-the-box flavors, check out their website for more information from their fun slide bar reviews, graphics, and their cookbook mixology! Or of course, tune in to Episode 117 of the Stairway to CEO podcast.
Want us to review another brand or have any guest suggestions, comments, or questions about Stairway to CEO? Drop us a line here!
Welcome back to another monthly recap here at Stairway to CEO. The month of September feels like the longest month of the year, to me at least. But nonetheless, we had an incredible lineup of four amazing guests, with inspiring stories. Let’s jump in to see what they all had in common, some life lessons they had to share, and take a peak into what lies ahead for us in October.
In today’s digital age, online reviews from real customers have surpassed word of mouth as the ultimate driver of social proof. In fact, numerous studies have shown that over 90% of consumers make the effort to read reviews before buying products.