Colin and Christel MacLean are moving out of their one remaining non-juice venture to devote full attention to their Saratoga Juice Bar and the line of cold-pressed juices that bears the same name.
The couple, who’ve operated four restaurants in the city, listed their last remaining eatery, the Circus Cafe, for sale last week. This comes as the MacLeans have in rapid succession expanded their product line, added a West Coast production facility and reached deals to put their juice in more locations of more stores, locally and around the Northeast.
“Things are going great,” Colin MacLean said. “We’ve had some major growth going on.”
This is the third year of wholesale operations for the Saratoga Juice Bar. Sales climbed 330 percent from 2015 to 2016 and are projected to quadruple over the course of 2017, he said.
Factoring into this projection are a few recent developments:
- Golub Corp. started selling the product in 80 of its Price Chopper/Market 32 supermarkets last month.
- CVS added the juices in 60 Boston-area stores.
- Saratoga Juice Bar created a new flavor for Wegmans when it began selling the company’s beverages in 70 of its supermarkets.
- Stewart’s is starting a six-week trial run with the beverages in 14 of its stores.
- Hannaford is expanding the products from five stores to 45.
“All these things are great, and they’re definitely going to contribute to revenue growth,” Colin MacLean said. “We were hopeful that we could break into a couple of our local neighborhood places, Price Chopper and Stewart’s.”
Saratoga Juice Bar cold presses up to 5 pounds of fruit and vegetables per serving for the beverages it serves in-house and a similarly high ration for juice it bottles for retail sale. The bottled juice is pasteurized with a low-temperature, high-pressure process to extend the shelf life.
They retail for about $6 for a 10-ounce bottle and $8 for a 16-ounce bottle. The newest products — 2-ounce wellness shots — run about $3.
All need to be stored in a cooler at the store.
Saratoga Juice Bar has been preparing its retail products at a facility in Brooklyn. The MacLeans chose to put their new production facility in Los Angeles because there’s an established culture of well-being in southern California, and a potentially receptive market to natural juice products.
Whether the name “Saratoga” carries the same cachet in California as it does in the Capital Region remains to be seen; there are several Saratogas across the nation. The MacLeans’ hometown is the perhaps the best-known, but it is also the farthest from the Golden State, which has a “Saratoga Springs” of its own, north of San Francisco.
“Some people know about the place on the other coast,” MacLean said. But the selling point is more about the juice in the bottle than the name on the bottle, he said.
“We have some products that we feel will do really well on the West Coast. … The industry out there has been pushing the envelope.”
He singled out the new Wellness Shots.
“People have gone crazy for our Turmeric Blast,” he said.
That’s a blend of lemon, ginger, cayenne and turmeric. It’s got a bit of a kick to it.
Other things are still in the works for Saratoga Juice Bar:
- A new product line will be announced in the end of September.
- They’re working to resolve a trademark dispute with Saratoga Spring Water Co. (The water bottler went after the juice presser last year, charging that their products are similar and might mislead shoppers to think the two companies are associated. The two beverage makers are among nearly 100 companies that hold trademarks for items with “Saratoga” in their names.)
- And finally, the MacLeans are looking to get out of the restaurant business.
They previously operated Hattie’s, Sperry’s and The Crown Grill, and still own the Circus Cafe. But last week, they put it up for sale.
“It’s in its 14th year, and it’s been wonderful,” MacLean said. But to manage the growth of Saratoga Juice Bar’s wholesale business, and secure the investments necessary to finance that growth, the MacLeans will need to devote their full attention to it.
“We didn’t really see that as something we were eventually going to need to do,” he said, but circumstances overtook them.
The asking price for the Circus Cafe is $475,000. It has more than 10 years left on its lease, which occupies a choice piece of real estate — 392 Broadway.
“It’s the best possible location you could have,” MacLean said.