On Wednesday May 13, 2015 SMJ Saint Lucia Limited launched a new product to add to its already extensive product line. SMJ, a manufacturing company based in Vieux Fort, produces Fruta Juices, Chubby and Busta carbonated drinks, Cran-Water and Classic Cola. The new product, which will be manufactured at the company’s plant in Vieux Fort, is Cool Runnings Water.
By way of introduction, Reisha Ramnarine-Lewis, group marketing manager of parent company SMJ Trinidad, reminded those at the launch that SMJ Saint Lucia was not a new player in the manufacturing business, having been around for more than 16 years. “I now call on you to applaud Sam Augier (the managing director) for championing the recent commissioning of the Cool Runnings Water plant at Vieux Fort,” she said. “The bottled water category is experiencing rapid growth globally, growing at a rate of 4.1 percent between 2013 and 2014,” she explained. According to her, this was due to the association with healthy lifestyles, convenience and value. These, she said, were all ideals shared by SMJ.
Brian Louisy, the Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, also spoke at the official Cool Runnings launch on Wednesday. “We are all aware that the business community has had some challenges over the last few years. Notwithstanding, we have seen companies like SMJ innovate, finding ways to operate not at the same level, but to expand innovate and we have no choice but to support and encourage them,” Louisy said.
Adding her words of commendation was Emma Hyppolyte, Minister of Commerce. “I am very happy to see Mr. Sam Augier reaching this very important milestone,” she said. “As Minister, I am delighted to see that the manufacturers, especially the bottled water industry, is (sic)responding to the initiatives, especially the one put in by the Government and by that I am referring to article 164,” Hyppolyte said. “That particular article for countries of the OECS allows them to look at select products that they are able to manufacture on island,” she explained.
Sam Augier admitted in his remarks that at first he was not too fond of “article 164” since it meant that the importation of Cool Runnings from Trinidad came with a 70% import tariff. This, he said, forced SMJ Saint Lucia to invest in its own bottling plant. “And so because of the prohibitive cost, we were compelled to look at options and last year we took the bold decision to invest EC$1.1 million in the establishment of the most modern state-of-the-art bottle water plant,” Augier said. “Our total SMJ investment at Vieux Fort and Castries to date is well over EC$21 million,” he added. The company now exports to several countries including Dominica, St. Vincent, Barbados, Belize and Holland, among others.
The GM of SMJ then gave those present on Wednesday an extensive slide presentation of what went into the production of Cool Runnings Water. This, he said, was done to the strictest international standards.
First introduced to Saint Lucia in 2012, Cool Runnings has been on the market offering Cran-Water (Cranberry flavoured water) for almost three years. Cool Runnings Pomegranate Flavoured Water was introduced in February 2015. With the launch this week of Cool Runnings Premium Purified Water, comes more diversity to the beverage portfolio of SMJ St. Lucia Ltd. Cool Runnings is available in three sizes: 300ml, 500ml and 2 Litre.
The media launch for the Cool Runnings Water coincided with the symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the water production plant.
Caribbean Brand Manager Krista-Lee Lookit stated “The Cool Runnings brand has a rich legacy here in Saint Lucia and has been a part of the culture for some time now. Cool Runnings Premium Purified Water gives you a consistently great, crisp taste and we are proud to launch this water from a platform of quality, consistency and power, the kind of hydrating power that is essential for everyday life.”
Plans for sponsorship for the brand include Morne Stars Athletics Club; Dane Magloire, Coach and former National Record Holder for Long Jump and Triple Jump; Cultural and Social Community Events and Youth Programmes and School partnerships.