By Lori Hawkins, Austin American-Statesman
Founded in 2003, Sovereign Flavors operates a flavoring lab that creates tastes that are infused into customers’ drinks, cocktail mixers, nutrition bars and more.
Sovereign Flavors, a California company that develops beverage flavor formulations, is the latest company to move its headquarters to Central Texas.
Currently based in Santa Ana, Sovereign Flavors is moving to a new 80,000-square-foot facility in Kyle, where it will house executive offices, manufacturing, quality assurance and research and development departments.
Founded in 2003, the 50-person company operates a flavoring lab that creates tastes that are infused into its customers’ drinks, cocktail mixers, nutrition bars and more.
The company uses natural, organic and non-GMO ingredients from a library of over 4,000 flavors. Its mixers are listed as “natural flavor” or “natural and artificial flavor” on product packaging.
“We’ve been on a crazy expansion over the past two years, and we’re outgrowing our little footprint in Santa Ana,” said David Ames, president of Sovereign Flavors. “Last year we were working seven days a week two shifts for six months because there was so much business and we couldn’t get it out the door.”
The company looked at Florida, Tennessee and the Dallas-Forth Worth area before deciding Kyle was the place for its next wave of growth, he said.
“We met the city manager, the mayor and people in the city, and it was really the energy, how vibrant they were and how much they wanted us to be part of that fabric,” Ames said. “Kyle is going to be up and coming. It’s who we are, and working with people who want you there. It was a no-brainer.”
An added bonus, Ames said, is Kyle’s location. “We do a tremendous amount of business in Texas and we’re going to be in their back yard. Our lead times will be shortened, our freight rates will be reduced and our service will be even better than it is now.”
Kyle, which has grown rapidly over the past 10 years and now has more than 50,000 residents, is just south of Austin in Hays County.
Sovereign Flavors has two facets to its business. Its R&D team develops beverage formulations that brands use to produce products under their own names.
“Most of the beverage companies out there do not do the development, they rely on flavor companies to do it,” Ames said. He said Sovereign doesn’t disclose customer names because “these big companies rely on us to do the formulation work and they don’t want anybody to know what flavor companies they are using.”
Sovereign Flavors, a California-based company that develops beverage flavor formulations, is moving its headquarters from California to Kyle, with plans for an 80,000-square-foot facility.
The U.S. organic food flavors market generated $112 million in 2020, and is projected to reach $234.3 million by 2026, according to an Allied Market Research report. The growth is being driven by increased attention being given to side effects of artificial flavors and an increase in health awareness among consumers, the report said.
The other side of Sovereign’s business is manufacturing flavor and shipping it to food companies that use it is their finished products. The relocation to Kyle will take place in coming months, with about a dozen Sovereign Flavors employees in California making the move.
Once established in Kyle, the company expects to add several dozen jobs in research and development, quality assurance and production over the next few years.
Sovereign Flavors, which is privately held and does not disclose financial information, has received no venture capital or outside loans, Ames said. “Everything has been done through cash flow over the course of the years,” he said.
The company is the latest to announce a move to the Austin area. Other recent transplants include Super Coffee — a fast-growing bottled coffee maker with celebrity investors including Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez — that recently moved its headquarters from New York.
Meanwhile, financial tech company Green Dot, the largest U.S. provider of prepaid debit cards, has moved its headquarters from Pasadena, Calif., to Austin, and e-commerce services provider Cart.com, which in February raised $240 million for expansion, moved its headquarters to Austin from Houston.
The relocations by smaller, privately held companies join a growing number of corporate giants that have moved their headquarters from California to Austin. They include electric automaker Tesla and software maker Oracle.
A number of other global tech companies — including Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon — have also expanded their operations in Central Texas.
Meanwhile, Samsung has announced plans for a $17 billion chip manufacturing facility in Taylor.