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Alumni kickstart Jungle Juice alcohol company

Courtesy of Marius Karl and Spencer Forrest
Jungle Juice is created by two Kent State alumni, Marius Karl and Spencer Forrest.

From students to now entrepreneurs, 2020 and 2021 graduates Marius Karl and Spencer Forrest have started their own alcohol business called Jungle Juice

The pair, who became friends during their freshman year of college, founded the company in 2021. Karl said the beverage is the first-ever non-carbonated, low in sugar, low-calorie and gluten-free drink.

“One aspect that we really want to make sure that we have in the product is that it’s naturally gluten-free, it’s organic, it’s vegan, non-carbonated so that we can cater to a big audience,” Karl said.

Karl said this allows Jungle Juice, a refined version of the classic party drink, to appeal to a wide range of consumers — so no one is excluded due to dietary restrictions.

“We really don’t want anybody to not consume it,” Karl said. “So, I really think that we are really able to check most of the boxes that would otherwise prevent people from enjoying it.”

Forrest said the idea to start the business sparked during their senior year of college.

Spencer Forrest (left) and Marius Karl, creators of Jungle Juice, hold their drinks. (Courtesy of Marius Karl and Spencer Forrest)

“We met in the dorms, and then throughout our college career, you know, we hung out and did lots of things, but senior year we were hanging out, and after a few drinks, we were like, ‘Hey, we should start an alcohol company,’” Forrest said. 

Forrest said the goals for the company are to increase in size across the community and provide people with a drink they can enjoy. 

He said there are several factors that may steer individuals away from a particular beverage, and the point of Jungle Juice is to provide a solution to these negatives.

“Throughout college, you’ll find that there’s a lot of different beverages that people don’t like for a number of reasons,” Forrest said. “Our mission was creating a product to basically answer all of these negatives that we had heard from people throughout our years about different alcoholic beverages that they have had.”

There have been over 300 cases of Jungle Juice sold, and it can be found for $19.99 for a 12-pack, in over 50 retailers across Northeast Ohio, including Acme, Discount Drug Mart and University Drive-Thru.

Jungle Juice is manufactured in Ohio, and the business partners said they hope to expand the company to be sold in most of the state.

“We want to go to Columbus and Athens as well,” Karl said. “We think that’d be very beneficial.” 

Along with expanding the business to those two cities, the entrepreneurs said they hope to sell the product in other states.

“That’s definitely in the near future for us, to go into the surrounding states of Ohio,” Karl said. “Just to see the company flourish in other states other than Ohio as well.” 

Forrest received a degree in fashion merchandising from the university, which he said helped him as a starting business owner.

“You might think that there’s no correlation between these two, but I will say my product development class that I got to take in Italy [helped] tremendously in branding, marketing and all those different things have been utilized,” he said.

Forrest and Karl said their time as Kent State students gave them the knowledge and skills they needed to become entrepreneurs.

The two agreed their great college experience allowed them to understand their audience and make Jungle Juice a success. 

“All of those experiences that were made in college, and all the knowledge we gained is definitely paying off,” Karl said.

MinJee Yoo is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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