A St. Paul Co. Makes Your Favorite Beverages
When you think of Four Loko (aka “blackout in a can”) or hip-hop producer Timba- land, you don’t usually think of St. Paul.
But the companies behind these brands have come to a St. Paul company with a beverage idea or brand and watched it materialize into a hot product.
Production Services International (PSI) manages the birth of beverages, including beer, wine, energy drinks, teas, and waters. They pair clients with a contract packer, but marketing is up to the inventor. PSI supervises production of more than 10 million cases of beverages annually.
Besides Four Loko, under the brand of Chicago-based Phusion Projects, and Timbaland’s liqueur, PSI counts Plymouth-based Bard’s Tale gluten-free beer among its clients.
PSI was launched in 2002 out of CEO Michael Gondek’s basement. The former director of operations and a vice president for Minnesota Brewing in St. Paul, Gondek and colleague Janet Johanson, now CFO at PSI, leveraged the relationships they had built to start the company. With roughly 60 clients and 17 employees, they’ve expanded across North America and overseas.
As you’d expect, Gondek says the hottest category in the business is craft beer. He’s seen the number of entrepreneurs in that universe explode: “Specialty brews are on fire.”
The price tag to get your own beer or booze ideated is up to $10,000. Concept to production can take from three months to years, Gondek says, and only “a good 10 percent actually become something.”