Moving from in-house production to a contract packager (co-packer) is a big step for food and beverage startups. It can be difficult to reproduce your original flavor when you move from a commercial kitchen to a fully automated production line with a different supply chain, large equipment, and many other people. But when you do find the right copacker, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time promoting your product.
Note: This list was originally published on January 14, 2017. The current publication date indicates the last time the list was updated.
Not all co-packers will be a good match for you—some will be too far away, some won’t have the equipment you need, some will be too large for you, some will be too expensive, and some simply won’t return your emails. But first, you have to find them. This isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Co-packers are some of the toughest service providers to find. Their websites are typically full of jargon and designed for industry insiders. Many large co-packers see startups as nuisances because of all the work required to produce relatively small quantities.
If you’re an early-stage beverage company, perhaps this list of American beverage co-packers will help in your search. (Neither I nor RealFoodMBA endorse any of these co-packers or claim to have firsthand knowledge of their operations. Conduct your own research to see if they are a good match for you.)
Are we missing any beverage co-packers for this list? Let us know. We’ll keep it updated.