One thing the pandemic brought forth in Los Angeles was the desire for people to be free and outdoors more often. It also made everyone much more aware and conscious of what they put into their bodies, and what we all drink counts too!
That is where Luis Manta, a former college athlete started thinking of ways to better replenish his body’s nutrients and came up with a functional beverage that is made from just three ingredients: Water, Korean Pears and Lemons.
Since Seoul Juice’s birth, the sports beverage has taken Los Angeles and the rest of California by storm, with stores picking it up and people demanding it unlike any other beverage company to come out of the pandemic.
We spoke exclusively with Luis Manta more about how his drink with the coined slogan “Nature’s Hydration” has turned into a massive success and more about the future of the juice.
1. How has it been creating your own beverage while living here in Los Angeles?
Starting a company during a pandemic has been difficult, but our customers have been fantastic and supportive. I personally did not know many people in LA when I first moved here, but the community has been fantastic. LA is the world’s capital for health oriented products, and I personally believe that customers are the ones that drive health trends, so as a brand this is where you want to be to learn and grow.
2. You have gotten picked up by some major stores since you first launched. Tell us which people can find Seoul Juice now?
You can find us at every Bristol Farms location, we are also at Rainbow Acres in Venice, and in Northern California we are in United Markets and at The Market on Market. You can also find us at www.seouljuice.com and at Amazon.
3. On a personal level, why was it important for you to even create this type of juice?
Being a high level athlete I was always looking to put the cleanest products in my body, but a lot of those products sacrificed on taste. I wanted to create a product that was functional and helped people reach their performance goals but also tasted great. It is so gratifying to see our product help people achieve their fitness and health goals.
4. Why was launching it here in LA and the rest of California a no-brainer for you?
I highly suggest that anyone looking to launch a product in food and beverage start in Los Angeles. The amount of opportunity here is incredible, and you have a great community that helps support small business owners. There are also so many great local grocery stores here that carry local better-for-you products.
5. With the pandemic, what trends going forward here in LA and the rest of the country do you foresee when it comes to the beverage industry and also what people decide to put into their bodies?
Functional products are huge and will continue to grow. Anything that allows people to get more from their food. The amount of people working on themselves and their health goals is really motivating to see. I also see people leaning towards clean label products. The less ingredients in a product the better, also I highly suggest that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient it’s probably best not to put it in your body.
6. What advice would you give to people who also may want to launch their own drink?
Spend a lot of time listening to your customers. Figure out what they are looking for and how you can help make their lives better. There are a lot of good products out there but the great products are the ones that are able to listen to their customers and help with their needs. If you do that the business will grow naturally, it’s also extremely gratifying to create something that helps others.
People are also asking more from their products now as well. They are looking at the back label and holding businesses accountable for what they sell. At Seoul Juice it was very important to have a clean label product. We only use 3 natural ingredients and do not add any sweeteners or preservatives. We wanted to create a sports drink that was essentially “made by nature” and think the result turned out great.
7. What is your ultimate goal/dream for Seoul Juice?
I really want to reach as many people with Seoul Juice as possible. As someone who drank coconut water with my nose plugged, I know the struggle of finding great functional products that also taste good. It means a lot to me to see customers’ eyes light up when they realize Seoul Juice is not only packed with electrolytes but it has a refreshing light apple-juice type of flavor. It has also been awesome to see parents rave about their kids loving Seoul Juice. A lot of parents have a difficult time getting their kids to try healthy alternatives so I’m glad Seoul Juice is able to help.