IndyCar driving sales for new healthy cocktails
An Indianapolis entrepreneur is raising a glass to what she calls a healthy cocktail—and with big-name IndyCar drivers in her fan following, the new line of business is gaining momentum this racing season.
Simplicity Cold-Pressed Juice—sold in 1,800 stores and counting—laid the foundation for Simplicity Cold-Pressed Cocktails, which simply add local spirits to the fruit juice. Keeping health at the center of Simplicity’s growing brand is personal for founder and CEO Beth McCarthy Smith, whose journey to juicing began nearly two decades ago during a difficult battle with infertility.
Following the birth of her first baby, trying to have more children became a painful battle for Smith. After a series of miscarriages and trying “every surgery and every drug under the sun,” an acupuncturist told Smith her blood was “too thick.” She was told the key to getting “clean, fast and flowing” blood was to change her diet; as part of that overhaul, she began juicing in her kitchen. Smith says “everything changed” with her body and mind, and she soon gave birth to two healthy babies naturally.
“My fertility journey gave birth to Simplicity,” says Smith. “I felt so blessed, and this was a blessing that I needed to share.”
Smith said she’s heard hundreds of stories from customers who have improved their health with her juices.
Smith founded Indianapolis-based Simplicity Cold-Pressed Juice in 2011. “One thing led to another,” she says, and the juices are now sold at major grocers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, including Kroger, Meijer and Whole Foods. The only ingredients for Simplicity juices are “fresh, raw, whole fruits and vegetables,” says Smith; no concentrates, purees, added sugars or colors.
“We want to fill you up with nutrients. It just also happens to taste great, because it’s only Mother Nature; we don’t add all these other things in,” says Smith. “Our Fresh Air [juice] is just apple, lemon and ginger. That’s the only thing in our bottle. We don’t use any additives, preservatives—nothing except apple, lemon and ginger.”
Cold-pressed refers to the process of squeezing juice from the fruits and vegetables in a hydraulic press that applies thousands of pounds of pressure. Smith says heat degrades the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, so cold-pressing the produce protects the vitamins, minerals and enzymes to create juice “that is alive and full of nutrients.”
While most juices are pasteurized, or heat-treated, to kill bacteria, Simplicity avoids heat by using High Pressure Protection, a process recognized by the USDA.
“Cold water is poured on top of our bottles and 90,000 pounds of pressure per square inch is applied for two minutes, so it takes the pressure in that bottle to sea level. That kills all the pathogens in the juice, yet keeps the juice alive,” says Smith. “No heat is being used on the bottle, so you get the freshest nutrients possible. It also increases shelf-life without artificial preservatives.”
When the juices were featured during a special event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, many IndyCar drivers became fans and shared (unpaid) posts on their social media, including Tony Kanaan, Will Power, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi.
“Whenever Tony Kanaan posts, it goes crazy, and people repost it,” says Smith. “He’s such an athlete, and he cares about what he puts in his body.”
Smith heard about customers adding alcohol to the juices, and the idea soon bubbled up for Simplicity Cold-Pressed Cocktails, such as Fresh Whiskey Smash and Paloma Perfection. The new line mixes cold-pressed juices with spirits, all crafted at Indianapolis-based Hotel Tango Distillery, other than the Mexico-made tequila. The recently trademarked cocktails are sold at Indy-area Total Wine locations and specialty liquor stores, with expansion plans in the works.
“To have come through the pandemic as a local, woman-owned business is tremendous. Not many food companies get out of the local or regional area like we have,” says Smith. “I want to continue to do quality over quantity and always and give my very best to each juice that goes out.”
Simplicity’s business recipe also includes zero advertising, making its growth seem especially toast-worthy.
“I want to continue to focus on the quality and the joy,” says Smith. “If I can do that, I think it will continue to grow organically.”