A small online store that sold and delivered made-to-order juices in Austin, has grown into into a charming, minimalist storefront.
By Megan Prendergast
Juice Society, located in south Austin, serves cold pressed juices, smoothies and vegan treats. It’s more than a place to grab a healthy drink or bite to eat— it’s a wellness hub that provides customers with the resources to make the best food and diet decisions for themselves.
After graduating from college in New York City, Juice Society founder Danielle Sobel and her fiance Evan Caron, moved to Houston, where Sobel began to cook more. Through her exploration in the kitchen, Sobel learned about the power of food as she experimented with various diets, with the hopes of curing the eczema and chronic migraines that plagued her since childhood.
Before living in Houston, Sobel had never thought of food as a cure for her conditions. Instead she used a myriad of medicines and steroid creams. “I started researching food,” Sobel says. “And then about how food affects wellness and illnesses and how food can really be medicine.”
After a two-year journey of trying different diets, from vegan to paleo, Sobel realized that juicing remained the one constant in her life. No matter what diet fad she experimented with, Sobel consistently drank one to two juices per day. Sobel says food helped cure her illnesses. “I got really inspired,” Sobel says. “I was like, ‘this is so cool.’ I can’t believe food can do this.”
Sobel went back to school and started attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where she took a year-long course remotely in Houston. Her end goal was to become a health coach, but towards the end of the course, Sobel decided that she wanted to start a juicing company. Realizing the ill-suited nature of the market in Houston, she convinced Caron to move to Austin, where she officially began her eight-month recipe experiment for Juice Society. “Austin is such a great city, and it’s so collaborative,” Sobel says. “It just felt right [moving here]. I just had such a good feeling about it.”
The name Juice Society sprung from the company’s mission to serve the community. “It was always meant to be community-driven and always about more than just juice,” Sobel says.
In January 2015 Sobel launched the online delivery service, which required her to personally deliver the juices to people all over Austin. Her day typically began around five a.m., when she started delivering juices to her customers. “[The delivery service is] very personal, and I really like that,” Sobel says. “And the store is an extension of that.”
Last week, Sobel opened the company’s first storefront location on South Lamar Boulevard and serves a variety of cold-pressed juices. The method of cold pressing juices is the most nutritionally beneficial technique. The commercial cold-press machines at Juice Society use hydraulic pressure, which extracts five times the amount of vitamins and minerals from the produce, compared to standard at-home juicers. When Sobel first started juicing, she used a simple at-home centrifugal machine. “[It’s] great if you want to drink the juice in 30 minutes, but if you want to store juice that is not a good option,” Sobel says.
Over the years, Sobel’s method of juicing grew from her centrifugal at-home juicer to the hydraulic pressure machine. “We have the huge commercial juicer, which does 100 gallons an hour, or something like that, to keep up with the volume that we are doing,” Sobel says.
Juice Society prides itself on sourcing its ingredients. The shops use as much local produce as it can get its hands on, and it’s always organic. With the absence of additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients, the juice retains its nutrients. The freshness of the juice, of course, comes with a price— each drink only has a three to five day shelf life. The juices are bottled in glasses with the simple ingredients etched on the front of each bottle. The entire juice menu consists of a variety of juices, each serving different purposes, from energizing and immune boosting juices, to pre- and post-workout drinks.
For example, the Root Down, is a vibrant red juice packed with beet, celery, carrot, apple, lemon and ginger. The juice offers anti-oxidizing and blood purifying properties that detox the liver and kidney. It is the perfect pre-workout drink, in addition to the Golden Girl and the OMGreens juices. The staff at Juice Society is trained to help you choose the best juice for you. “If you’re not feeling well, if your digestion is off, we want to help you with that,” Sobel says.
In addition to the selection of juices, smoothies and vegan treats, Sobel has plans to introduce more food options, including avocado toast, almond butter honey bee pollen toast and pre-packaged plant-based meals.
Juice Society is not only a place to shop for the colorful, nutrient-rich juices, but a wellness hub. It goes beyond the juice and the food. Juice Society plans to host a yoga series and run clubs, plus social events. It is meant to be “a place where you can come and feel welcomed,” Sobel says.