If you haven't tried Būjē (formerly known as the Lemonade Co.) just yet, you're in luck — the locally founded drink brand will hit shelves at all 10 Central Market store locations by late July.
Elias Carofilis was a high school senior when he launched the business in 2008. His beverages quickly found fans and expanded to farmers markets, event pop-ups and retail spaces throughout and beyond San Antonio. Then Central Market called in 2017.
The high-end grocer expressed interest in bringing Carofilis' lemonade to stores, but the Lemonade Co. lacked the infrastructure to put out thousands of bottles each week, he told The Current.
Fortunately, Sascha Stone Guttfreund, co-founder of ScoreMore — the festival production company behind major events including the Neon Desert Music Festival — was looking to invest in a beverage company.
The acquisition of the backer, combined with trademark issues affecting Lemonade Co., led Carofilis to approach Hilmy Design Firm for help with a rebrand.
"It's fancy, it's different, it's bougie," he said, recounting the Hilmy team's response to the lemonade. "But we can't spell it the normal way, we have to make it different."
Būjē made its first appearance last weekend at the JMBLYA Festival in Dallas.
The rebranded lemonade — currently available in classic and strawberry flavors — can be found locally, as of today, at retail spaces including Pinch Boil House and the Rosella locations at Methodist Hospital and the Rand.
"We're very lucky and grateful to work with Central Market," Carofilis said, adding that the grocery chain has supported the business throughout the entire expansion and rebranding processes.
Also keep an eye out for a new Būjē Body line, which will include an activated charcoal lemonade and could potentially expand to offer varieties like healthy tumeric lemon as well as a special CBD beverage.
During the slow transition, lemonade lovers can still find Carofilis and the lemonade at local farmers markets and a growing number of retail locations.
"It's the same Lemonade Co. taste that people have known for the last 10 years, just a different name," Carofilis said. "We'll be slowly making the transition throughout the city, so people can still find us."
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