One evening in a Manhattan bar in February 2002, childhood friends, Ira Liran and Michael Kirban, were speaking with a couple of girls they had just met from Brazil. When asked what they missed most about their country, one of the girls, without hesitation, answered "agua de coco." Coconut water, she explained, is the most nutritious and delicious drink in the world. Two months later, Liran traveled to Brazil and started researching the prospect of branding coconut water for the American market. He realized the girl's enthusiasm for the beverage was not exaggerated—Brazilians just can't get enough coconut water. After spending several months working with coconut plantations and producers, making connections, and learning the politics of production in Brazil, Vita Coco was born. Meanwhile, Kirban started the initial market research in New York. Meeting with distributors and beverage insiders, he quickly realized the tremendous consumer interest in "functional beverages." He spoke with several distributors who then introduced Kirban to some of their key accounts. The response was fantastic. Three years later in 2005, the two successfully brought Vita Coco to market in a handful of stores along the East Coast. Now, six years after that fateful night in Soho, Vita Coco has not only carved a market in the non-carbonated beverage business, but is also redefining the alternative sports beverage category. Vita Coco's popularity only continues to increase. Now available in almost 8,000 retail stores nationally, Vita Coco has become a major beverage brand with a loyal following.