His father, Michael, ran Disney; his eldest brother, Breck, is a director (Sahara); his middle brother, Eric, is a producer (this summer’s Hamlet 2). But Anders Eisner, 30, is staying far away from the entertainment business. “Ugh! I hated it,” he says, recalling a gig he had as a production assistant years ago. (It was an Arby’s commercial starring Barry White.) “Being a P.A. is the worst experience ever. I knew very quickly I didn’t want to be in movies.”
The youngest Eisner son is the first to admit that the years he spent after graduating from the University of Denver weren’t the most focused. He had an unfulfilling stint working in production at Fox Sports and pursued some half-baked business ventures, including a healthy-fast-food chain, an L.A. sports bar and an automotive-detailing business. But three years ago, he and a friend, Burke Eiteljorg, had their eureka moment. Inspired by the success of supplements like Emergen-C and Airborne, the two entrepreneurs dreamed up an all-in-one bottled water–powdered vitamin product they named Activate.
The gimmick: Twist the bottle’s blue cap, and the purified water is suddenly filled with vitamins that are “hid in the lid” (the slogan). The five-calorie drink, introduced in April, comes in four flavors and has taken off with the Runyon Canyon hiking set. (Matthew McConaughey and Josh Duhamel are reportedly fans.) By the end of summer, it will be in about 400 West Coast stores, says Eisner, who is weaning himself off coffee and now consumes three or four Activates a day. He plans to serve the drink at his late-summer wedding to Terena Thyne, a former fashion publicist—“or at least,” he says, “put it in the gift bags.”
When he first told his parents about Activate, says Eisner, they were supportive but cautious. “My dad thought it would never get distribution, because that’s the hardest thing in the movie business,” he says. “Turns out it’s the hardest thing in the water business too.”