Photos by Kate and Michael Auda
Just in time for summer comes a new drink that's ideal for quenching thirst. Born from the efforts of three San Diego entrepreneurs, Coconut Beach aims to disrupt the beverage industry by retailing bottles of coconut water for just 99 cents apiece - a fraction of what other brands charge. And unlike some of its competitors, Coconut Beach sells products that are 100-percent pure, vegan and naturally free of gluten, dairy and preservatives.
After cooking up the idea last summer, the minds behind Coconut Beach wasted no time getting operations off the ground. Now, less than a year later, Coconut Beach products are popping up in stores around San Diego and across the country.
With more than 20 years of experience in the local real estate and hospitality industries, co-founder Mitchell Compton oversees Coconut Beach's daily operations. His commitment to allergy-sensitive ingredients emerged in 2008, when his wife was diagnosed with celiac disease, and his daughter with an allergy to peanuts. The fact that Compton himself enjoys a gluten-free lifestyle further underscores his passion for pure, natural products.
"Keeping things simple has always been our motto," says Compton. "So far, it seems to work well for us, starting with the ingredients in our product line."
Co-founder Kent Harrington spent years in the sales and distribution departments of food and beverage companies. Now, he manages Coconut Beach's production channels and sales to nationwide supermarkets. It's also his duty to ensure the company's customers are never short on supply. As a native son of America's Finest, Harrington played in integral role in establishing the brand's identity.
"San Diego is my home," he says. "I grew up in Del Mar and Encinitas, worked at the Poseidon [restaurant] through high school and spent summers at the track and going to the fair. This city represents the Coconut Beach ethos - nice weather, active people and beautiful beaches."
After 10-plus years of working in hospitality, co-founder Mike Reidy developed a deep understanding of consumers' desires. Add in his extensive globe-trotting and time spent in Thailand, and this well-connected businessman completes Coconut Beach's dream team. Above all else, he's committed to ensuring the company's products are affordable for everyone.
"As founders of Coconut Beach," says Reidy, "we want to pass the savings on to our customers. We're proud of our food and beverage products and are confident they stand up to larger brands."
Never made from concentrate, Coconut Beach coconut water comes from safe, fair-wage farming communities in Thailand. Look for the company's coconut water and all-natural dark-chocolate-covered coconut chips at Grocery Outlet, Food4Less and Dollar Tree.
Given initial consumer and retailer reactions to Coconut Beach products, it seems this triumphant trio already has success in the palms (pun intended) of their hands.