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Phocus co-founder recognized in Forbes Next 1000

John Mittel named among nation’s top entrepreneurs ‘redefining what it means to build and run a business’

LOUISVILLE, KY, UNITED STATES, January 18, 2022 / -- John Mittel, co-founder of Phocus caffeinated sparkling water, has been named to the Forbes Next 1000.

The highly regarded business media outlet recently released its latest list of “upstart entrepreneurs redefining the American dream.” The Forbes feature references how Mittel’s vision for Phocus came during medical school when he sought after a healthy alternative to energy drinks to avoid relying on sugar-laden beverages to get through the day. Since launching Phocus in Louisville in 2017, the naturally caffeinated sparkling water with no sugar or additives has grown quickly and is now available nationwide.

“It’s a true honor to be included among some really inspiring entrepreneurs. My co-founder Tom O’Grady and the team at Phocus deserve to be part of the Forbes 1000 with me because it’s been a team effort all the way,” Mittel said. “The Phocus story is one of seeing a need for that boost we all need sometimes, but in a cleaner, more natural way, with great taste and without the crash.”

Forbes editors created the Next 1000 to shine a light on entrepreneurial heroes and showcase individuals and companies with “infinite drive and hustle,” according to Forbes’ panel of business experts and entrepreneurial superstars reviewed nominations from across the country to select the Next 1000.

“Entrepreneural stories are rarely point A to point B. I was on track for a career in medicine, but when our first-ever production run sold out of all 10,000 cases in just a few short months, I made the decision to defer my residency after med school graduation and dedicate my efforts to Phocus full-time,” Mittel said. “We are appreciative of the reception we’re seeing from the many consumers who are looking to make changes for a healthier body and mind.”

In the past 12 months, Phocus has seen 60 percent annual growth in the number of retail locations where it is available, after inking new or expanded distribution deals with Kroger, Publix, Albertsons and Fresh Thyme. Other distribution includes CVS, Giant, Safeway and specialty retailers. In 2020, Phocus earned BevNet’s “Best New Product” award.

About Phocus
Established in 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky, Phocus is the first-of-its-kind thoughtfully caffeinated sparkling water. Infused with a boost of natural tea caffeine and the balance of L-theanine, it is specially formulated to provide clean energy without the sugar, calories or crash. Phocus is currently available nationwide in Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Yuzu & Lime, Cucumber, Peach, Natural, and recently released Mint, Cola, Cherry Cola, Root Beer, Mixed Berry and Crisp Apple flavors. For more information and specific retail locations, please visit


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