Discover more from Highly Objective
Beverage news 1H July
And other beverage industry news and highlights from July 1st-15th
Bobbie, the only mom-founded and led infant formula company in the U.S., acquired Nature’s One, the Ohio-based pediatric nutrition company who for decades has worked to set a new bar for formula in quality and organics. By focusing its new facility on making infant formula here in the U.S, Bobbie makes huge strides on their $100 million White House commitment to strengthen the domestic infant formula supply chain and industry. Bobbie is closing a $70 million Series C to acquire Nature’s One, led by a $35 million investment by PowerPlant Partners—totaling $142 million raised to date.
National Convenience Distributors (NCD), the 4th largest wholesale distributor to the convenience industry, acquired Colonial Wholesale Distributing, one of the Southeast region's largest full-line wholesale distributors to the convenience and grocery store industries. National Convenience Distributors now services thirteen (13) states with annual revenues approaching $3.5 billion.
The Coca-Cola Company and eight bottling partners (The Coca-Cola Company, Arca Continental, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. UNITED, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, Swire Coca-Cola) from around the world closed a new, $137.7 million venture capital fund focusing on sustainability investments. Greycroft, a seed-to-growth venture capital firm, will manage the Greycroft Coca-Cola System Sustainability Fund. The fund is the first of its kind for Greycroft, which invests in enterprise and consumer solutions across life cycles and industries. The Coca-Cola system’s carbon footprint is a major priority for the fund, so it will focus on five key areas with the most potential impact to start: Packaging, Heating and cooling, Facility decarbonization, Distribution, Supply chain
Liquid Death has reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to lead a potential IPO, which could come as soon as spring 2024. The Company last raised a $70 million Series D funding round in October at a $700 million valuation. Board member Peter Pham said the company was on pace to double its projected 2022 revenue of over $130 million in 2023. As of last fall Liquid Death had 94% national distribution coverage via DSD and broadline with the ability to service 346,000 doors, according to an internal deck. In October, Pham wrote that the brand was in 60,000 accounts nationwide at the time.
Prime is being called out by Majority Leader Schumer Demands FDA Investigate For Absurd Caffeine Content And Marketing Targeting Kids On Social Media; Schumer Warns Parents That Summer’s Hottest Drink Has So Much Caffeine That It Puts Red Bull To Shame. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recalled Prime energy drink, though it has not yet officially launched in Canada, and the company plans to adhere to local regulations when it does.
Schumer said a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola contains 34 milligrams of caffeine and an 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull has 80 milligrams. A 12-ounce can of Prime energy, by contrast, contains 200 milligrams of caffeine.
Anchor Brewing, the Oldest Craft Brewer in the U.S., Will Close After 127 Years. The brewer’s sales had been declining since 2016, and in 2017, the company was acquired for around $85 million by the Japanese beer giant Sapporo.
Production under Sapporo’s leadership declined in every other year with the exception of 2021, when volume increased +45%, to 72,500 barrels, its highest point since the 89,612 barrels produced in 2018, according to the Brewers Association’s New Brewer Magazine. In 2022, Anchor’s volume declined -10% in 2022, to 65,000 barrels.
A medical diagnosis led Ted Fleming to found non-alcoholic beer company, Partake Brewing, that’s now selling close to $20 million in annual revenue.
Perfect Day has laid off roughly 15% of its workforce, 134 employees, as it moves to exit its consumer-facing business, The Urgent Company (TUC), in order to focus solely on its B2B ingredient sales and nth bio “consulting” precision fermentation business.
The TUC division houses four brands: Modern Kitchen (cream cheese), Brave Robot (ice cream), California Performance Company (whey protein) and Coolhaus (ice cream and frozen novelties).
NuZee (NUZE, $7.5M Market Cap) Secures Five-Year Global Licensing Deal with Stone Brewing to Launch a Full Line of Specialty Coffee Products
Heaven’s Door adds “Ascension” Kentucky Straight Bourbon to its core collection of Tennessee whiskeys.
BuzzBallz Cocktails is adding a bold new flavour to its popular premixed drinks range with a premium, limited edition flavour the UK market—Pornstar Martini, a modern classic, featuring top quality vodka and passion fruit juice this fun cocktail creation is set to be a real hit over the summer months and beyond. The product offers a hefty ABV at a bargain-bin price tag, and proudly flaunts that it’s woman-owned, an attribute increasingly important to younger, diverse consumers. BuzzBallz also comes in a dizzying number of flavors (13 core cocktails with seasonal offerings) and based on its TikTok fans, has lived up to its original inspiration as a “party ball.”
Bossa Nova, the functional sparkling water brand has struggled to secure the necessary financing to maintain its business despite good margins and high velocities at its natural channel retail partners (2,000 Sprouts Farmers Market, Central Market and H-E-B).
CEO Alton Johnson said that the current financial environment, where potential investors are more focused on brands showing profitability than growth, has made it more difficult to secure the necessary financing. While some potential investors have told Johnson they would be interested in participating in a Series A for the company, he said the brand is still too young for that type of round. Johnson said the company still has breathing room as it seeks out new investors, with at least a year’s worth of cash on hand and incoming revenue to maintain the business.
Top 10 spirits launches in June 2023: Fettercairn 18YO, No. 3 Gin’s bottled Gimlet, Suntory’s anniversary whiskies, Cambridge Distillery’s seasonal gin, De Kuyper RTD cocktails, Frapin 30YO, Sphynx Tequila, Betty Booze, Benriach 40YO, Neurita Tequila
375 Park Avenue Spirits has entered into a spirits distribution agreement with the United Kingdom’s largest independent craft gin distillery, Warner’s Distillery. Under this agreement, 375 Park Avenue Spirits will assume responsibility for all sales of Warner’s Distillery’s portfolio of super-premium spirits within the United States, as well as supporting the brand’s marketing efforts in the U.S. market.
Tractor Beverage Company, the first and only certified organic, non-GMO beverage company dedicated to foodservice, is launching its debut consumer ad campaign that takes industry monoliths head on.
Proudly served in over 5,900 locations across all 50 states including Chipotle, PLNT Burger, Kevin Hart’s Hart House, WOWorks’ Saladworks, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and more, Tractor's thoughtfully crafted drinks feature clean ingredients that deliver on taste, functionality, and experience, without any of the bad stuff.
Tromba used the funds it has raised over the last few years to purchase and preserve a 28-hectare plot of land on which more than 6,000 endangered agave seedlings were planted.
Moth launched an OOH advertising campaign with a focus on its pre-mixed Margarita cocktail
Interview: Liz Rhoades & Meghan Ireland, Distillers, WhistlePig – Rhoades and Ireland spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about their respective backgrounds in the spirits industry and WhistlePig’s expansion from rye whiskey into North American single malt whiskey category with the launch of an ultra-premium 21-year-old expression named The Beholden They discussed how the whisky fits into the company’s “rebel” ethos, the craft of aging and blending and their perspectives on women in the whiskey industry.
Interview: After 20 Years Of Ilegal Mezcal, Founder John Rexer Talks What’s Ahead. Ilegal grew by 80% in 2021, and then close to 80% again in 2022. How we prepare for the future is important for the economic and environmental sustainability of mezcal and of Oaxaca.
“The biggest opportunity, but also biggest challenge, is to apply as many best practices as possible and to learn from the mistakes of others. Tequila has had boom/bust cycles which over time has created economic instability and has led to hyper industrialization of many brands. Mezcal, as an international business, is still young enough to build a more sustainable model that benefits everyone throughout the chain, one that evens out the highs and lows, and protects environmental diversity. It is not an easy mission, but one the bigger players should lead as they expand their business.”
Liberum downgraded Naked from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’ in a note to its investors, saying that the “stop-start growth strategy” of the company had historically brought about “way too much volatility” and it seems “those days could return”. “Naked Wines’ business model struggles with the balance between growth and profits, as its high CAC and not high enough retention rates imply a need to spend significant money to replenish the sales and customer base every year,” it noted, adding that “If one had thought the ‘stop-start’ growth strategy had come to an end, well think again.”
Vodka, By the Numbers. With $7.2 billion in sales in 2022, vodka continues to be the backbone of the spirits industry. (For comparison’s sake, the second-highest-grossing category of distilled spirits was tequila and mezcal, coming in at $886 million.)
Non-alcoholic beverage sales stabilized in the two-week period ending July 1. Dollar sales growth was up 6.3% in the two-week period, compared to 6.2% in the four-week period and 8.8% for the 12-week period. Meanwhile, volume fell -4.8%, improving from -5.7% in the four-weeks. Average pricing growth was up 11.1%, decelerating from 11.9% in the four-weeks.
The latest data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis shows global beverage alcohol growth by volume slowed to around 1% in 2022, “and is likely to grow at around 1% per annum over the next five years” to 2027, Emily Neill, chief operations officer, research and operations at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, said during a webinar on the company’s latest insights. “Value is forecast to grow by a more positive 2% year on year.”
PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said that consumers are looking for better deals and shopping more from dollar stores and club retailers.
Tales of the Cocktail, the cornerstone event of the spirits industry, turns 21 this year. Over that time period, the New Orleans cocktail conference has grown from a walking tour guiding a handful of local enthusiasts to a weeklong destination for nearly 25,000 global industry professionals.