Senator Patricia Bates Honors Mission Viejo’s "Smart Cups" as Small Business of the Year

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) announced today that “Smart Cups” in Mission Viejo is her 2020 Small Business of the Year for the 36th Senate District.

“Smart Cups embodies the qualities of innovation and hard work that define California’s small businesses, especially during these challenging times,” said Senator Bates, a former small business owner. “I thank the people behind Smart Cups for not only providing unique environmentally-friendly beverages, but also helping in the fight against COVID-19 by producing hand sanitizer for first responders and other frontline workers.”

Smart Cups is a sustainability-driven technology company with a mission to innovate and provide a mindful path forward for the beverage industry and beyond. As the world’s first printed beverage, Smart Cups’ proprietary technology eliminates the need to bottle and ship liquids, which, in turn, significantly reduces its carbon footprint. For example, a truck that could only deliver 96,000 12-ounce bottles can now transport 1.2 million units of the same liquid utilizing Smart Cups' technology.

With the ability to print ingredients onto any type of surface, Smart Cups’ technology can be easily implemented across a variety of industries -- offering an eco-forward approach to the way products are manufactured, packaged, transported, and consumed. Customers fill a Smart Cup with water and the pre-printed flavor and the active materials on the inside of the cup transform into the beverage. From life-saving medications to personal care and hygiene products, spirits, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and even water purification systems, the potential of Smart Cups is endless. 

Founded by Chris Kanik, Smart Cups operates in Mission Viejo, and manufactures its products on U.S. soil. The company switched some of its production capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic to produce hand sanitizer, helping fill a critical need for frontline workers, and keeping its employees working during a government-induced economic shutdown.

To-date, Smart Cups has been able to produce and distribute more than 70,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to the Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County municipalities, local hospitals, first responders, veterinarians, and homeless shelters. Smart Cups is looking to expand its applications to printing hand sanitizer and disinfectants to prepare for potential supply shortages in the future. Such products could be stored in strategic locations by organizations with minimal space requirements and be ready at a moment’s notice.

California Small Business Day honors small businesses each year for their contribution to the state’s economy. Prior to COVID-19, there were approximately 4.1 million small businesses in California, which accounted for 99.8 percent of the state’s employers and employ 48.5 percent of the workforce.

The California Small Business Association (CSBA) holds an annual lunch in Sacramento to honor small businesses recognized by state legislators. However, the CSBA cancelled the 2020 lunch due to COVID-19.