What's Behind Hollywood's Juice Craze (and Why There Is No End in Sight)

Illustrations by: Zoe More O'Ferrall

As New Year's cleanses come and go, supplies of liquefied nutrition around town multiply more quickly than Uber rides during awards season, with L.A. juice outlets burgeoning in recent years from just a handful to over 200 and devotees slurping up what some decry as pulp fiction.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

With the double whammy of awards season and the new year, juicing — which touts such benefits as increased energy, better health, glowing skin and weight loss — is booming. Conspicuously. As Chris Rock noted in a tweet, "You never meet someone who's quietly on a juice cleanse." Cases in point: Ryan Seacrest, who took to Twitter to brag about his Kreation "Bikini Cleanse," and Mindy Kaling, who long has Instagrammed her love-hate relationship with forgoing solid foods.

Practically every Hollywood star has drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid, but Kimberly Snyder, health guru to Drew Barrymore, Kerry Washington and Chris Hemsworth and owner of the L.A. juicery Glow Bio, warns against using juices overzealously as meal replacements: "Juice is good as a supplement, but it's not the end-all, be-all." Gary Cohan, an internist who treats a who's who of the Oscars' front row, goes a step further. "Juicing removes the healthiest part of fruits and vegetables — the fiber — so you're left with sugar water and a sugar crash later on," he says, crediting the famous glow to "beta-carotene staining the skin like an internal spray tan."

Still, revenue can be as green as the popular superfood ingredients kale, spinach and cucumber that inhabit 16-ounce bottles at $6 to $12 a pop. (On-the-rise ingredients include ginger, purportedly good for digestion and pain relief from arthritis and muscle soreness, and turmeric, which theoretically combats everything from headaches to colds to depression.) Hollywood types even have gotten into the business, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, investors in Pressed Juicery; Michael Franzini, an Emmy-winning director who founded Gunpowder juicery in Venice; and actress Elisabeth Rohm, who in 2012 opened Rejuice, which she says has made her popular on set. "I always come bearing juice. It's a pretty good bonding opportunity among co-stars," she says of the writers room for CBS' Stalker and the ADR (or dubbing) room for American Hustle. David O. Russell, her Hustle director and a fellow juicing devotee, gifted Rohm a cleanse without realizing she had her own business. "It was a funny coincidence and a very thoughtful thing to do," says the actress, who drinks a green juice a day and does a three-day cleanse once a month.

"Celebrities like their routines, so when their Pressed isn't available, they go to great lengths," says Hayden Slater, CEO of Pressed Juicery, which opened in 2010 and boasts 20 locations as well as a "rapidly growing" online business. "I find that there's more customers than there is juice. We're opening six stores in six weeks, with 10 to 12 more in the pipeline," he adds, noting that for music clients such as Beyonce and Katy Perry, "Pressed refrigerators are stocking tour buses and backstage."

Gunpowder's Donte Murry reveals what led Ron Howard to go for a liquid fix at the Venice shop. "He had a writer friend who talked about drinking one of our drinks and going on a writing binge, writing a script in about three days," says Murry, who notes the director got the ginger lemonade with guayusa, an Amazonian caffeinated herb that Murry says "has twice the antioxidants of green tea." Glow Bio's Snyder calls that "the domino effect: The director starts to drink it, then the producer wants to drink it." Such word-of-mouth has translated into an explosion of nearly 200 juiceries, when only a few years ago the town had a handful — including the original Beverly Hills Juice, which opened in 1975. Says owner David Otto, "I still don't think [the market is] 100 percent saturated."

 

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