Keurig Dr Pepper, Nutrabolt
announce strategic partnership

Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. (KDP), Burlington, Mass., and Frisco, Texas, and Nutrabolt, Austin, Texas, announced a strategic partnership, including a definitive agreement for a long-term sales and distribution arrangement that leverages KDP’s go-to-market capabilities and an equity investment that enables KDP to participate in the value creation upside expected to be created through the strategic partnership, the company says. The equity investment is expected to close by year-end.

Nutrabolt is a rapidly growing, global active health and wellness company with a portfolio of brands, including C4 Energy, one of the fastest-growing performance energy drink brands in the United States; C4 Pre-Workout, a pre-workout brand; and XTEND, a post-workout recovery brand.

Under the long-term sales and distribution agreement, KDP will sell and distribute C4 Energy in the vast majority of KDP’s company-owned direct store distribution territories, which is expected to meaningfully increase retail availability and household penetration for the brand. Nutrabolt will continue to distribute C4 Energy directly or through its existing distribution network to the specialty, health club and fitness channels and will continue to work with some of its existing beverage distributors in certain markets.

KDP will make a cash investment in Nutrabolt of $863 million, or approximately $740 million net of anticipated cash tax benefits, in exchange for preferred equity with a 5% annual coupon paid in cash or in-kind. The investment provides KDP with an ownership stake of approximately 30%, making KDP the largest investor in Nutrabolt behind its Founder, Chairman and CEO, Doss Cunningham.

Net of the anticipated cash tax benefits, the investment represents a multiple below four-times estimated 2023 net sales, which are expected to be above $650 million. KDP also has the opportunity to earn additional equity tied to in-market execution and will have representation on the Nutrabolt board. In addition, the partnership provides KDP with rights to further increase its ownership stake under various capital raising scenarios.

“This partnership represents a win-win transaction between our two companies,” said KDP Chairman and CEO Bob Gamgort, in a statement. “KDP gains significant presence in the rapidly growing performance energy drink market and Nutrabolt gains access to a strategic investor with extensive sales and distribution capabilities to further accelerate its growth. We believe that bringing together the resources, talent and expertise of both companies will accelerate innovation and growth and drive significant value creation over time.” BI

The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, announced that Henrique Braun has been named to a newly created role of president of international development. In this position, Braun will oversee seven operating units that span dozens of countries and territories around the world. Braun, 54, currently serves as president of the Latin America operating unit, a position he has held since 2020. Braun is a 26-year veteran of the company who has progressed through a number of roles in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. “Henrique is a strong leader who has learned and grown in operations across the company,” said James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., in a statement. “Most recently, he has led the Latin America operating unit to outstanding results. Henrique’s work to digitize our business and lead a consumer-centric team makes him an ideal fit for a new, broader role.”

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Nutrabolt, Austin, Texas, announced the addition of Robert Zajac as chief marketing officer, and Sabba Naserian as chief growth officer, to its executive team. Zajac joins Nutrabolt with more than 20 years of global marketing experience leading high-performance brands, including almost five years with ESPN, and more than eight years in leadership roles with Nike. From 2014-2016, Naserian served as Nutrabolt’s vice president of global development, and the company is pleased to welcome back a sure cultural fit and known expansion expert, it says. Since 2016, she’s bolstered her expert resume with experience that ranges from creating a launching pad for new brands through her own agency, to serving in key growth roles with boutique agency Indelible, and senior leadership at Canopy Growth Corporation.

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Pernod Ricard announces investment to
support American Whiskey Collective

Pernod Ricard announced a significant move to further leverage the strong growth and growth potential of its premium American whiskey portfolio: The American Whiskey Collective. The wine and spirit company will invest approximately $250 million over five years to build a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral distillery, with related aging warehouses in Marion County, Ky., for its fast-growing Jefferson’s Bourbon brand.

This investment also will include the build of a world class visitor center facility that will welcome whiskey aficionados on the historic South Trail of Kentucky Bourbon.

“American whiskey is an extremely vibrant spirits category, and our strategic investments over the last few years have proven successful,” said Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO at Pernod Ricard, in a statement. “Our philosophy of partnering with entrepreneurial brand founders, while preserving the heritage and terroir associated with the brands they created, has made us an established player in premium American Whiskey. Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller is no exception. This new investment will allow us to grow our share of category sales not only in the U.S., but also in export markets.”

Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO at Pernod Ricard North America, said the new distillery will enable Jefferson’s to efficiently keep up with very strong consumer demand while staying true to the company’s longstanding commitment to sustainability.

“American whiskey is booming, and Jefferson's growth has been phenomenal,” Mukherjee said. “We’re very bullish on the brand's potential, and we’re committed to making our new Jefferson’s facility one of the most exemplary distilleries in the world in order to achieve it.”

Pernod Ricard has announced the intention for this new distillery to be carbon neutral once operational. The facility also is expected to be the first distillery of its size in the U.S. to achieve LEED certification, an internationally recognized sustainability framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving environmentally friendly buildings. BI

Casa BACARDÍ Puerto Rico announced Gabriel “Gabe” Solano as general manager, responsible for the complete visitor experience. The visitor center, located just outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, showcases mixology, stories about the rich history of the Bacardí family and brand, and an insider’s view of the unique production process for the rum brand. Gabriel joins the team led by Thibault Ruffat, global Brand homes director for family-owned Bacardi, responsible for the venues and experiences for the brand homes of BACARDÍ rum in Puerto Rico, DEWAR’S Blended Scotch Whisky in Scotland, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin in the UK, MARTINI vermouths and sparkling wines in Italy, ANGEL’S ENVY Kentucky Straight bourbon in the USA and brand homes in France for NOILLY PRAT vermouths, BÉNÉDICTINE liqueur, and the cognacs BARON OTARD and D'USSÉ.

Milwaukee-based Bright Cellars, a wine subscription service, announced the appointment of Catherine Fallis as the brand's first Master Sommelier. As the fifth woman in the world to earn the rare and coveted Master Sommelier certification, Fallis brings more than 25 years of experience from nearly every facet of wine, spanning sommelier to salesperson, supplier and distributor manager, author, speaker, critic, judge and advocate. Most recently, she launched Planet Grape Wine Review, America’s first female-led wine review platform, aiming to make wine more approachable and accessible. Fallis will help spearhead education and selection efforts for Bright Cellars, which blends and bottles its own wines from grapes sourced from the world’s top growing regions, and in doing so, offers exceptional value, the company says. Fallis will work closely with the brand’s executive and education teams to develop content that helps subscribers better know its more than 100 wine brands and 750 wine labels from tasting videos to virtual panel events and direct interaction with members, it adds.

Alternative milk brand MALK Organics, Austin, Texas, announced that it has closed a $9 million-plus Series B investment round led by Benvolio Group and Rotor Capital. This announcement follows a significant distribution expansion for MALK’s line of plant-based milks and the launch of MALK’s Chocolate Oat SKU, which is now rolling out nationwide. MALK will utilize this capital infusion to continue to expand its retail presence, increase marketing efforts, and continue to recruit high caliber team members, it says. “We are very pleased to announce this round of funding from our valued partners at Benvolio, Rotor, and more, which will help us continue to emerge as a leading organic plant-based milk brand,” said MALK’s CEO Jason Bronstad in a statement. “We have bold plans for MALK and are eager to build on the momentum we have garnered thus far as we continue to bring the cleanest milk alternative on the market to households throughout the country.”

Portland, Ore.-based Wheyward Spirit, a distilled specialty spirit bringing sustainably sourced, upcycled whey from domestic dairies into the alcohol industry, announced that the organization has officially been carbon neutral certified by Carbonfund’s Carbonfree Product Certification Program. The Carbonfree Product Certification will help further Wheyward Spirit’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, it says. “We are thrilled to continue our mission and impact-focused goal of sustainability and helping the environment by adding a Carbon Neutral Certification to our company's name,” said Founder and CEO Emily Darchuk in a statement. “The biggest realization I had through my journey in the food industry, especially with a delicate and delicious ingredient like whey, is that what we see as waste isn’t waste. Wheyward Spirit has had the opportunity to handcraft a product that adds value to our producers and customers, inspiring the DNA of Wheyward Spirit, a first of its kind spirit where you can truly taste a difference and make a difference.”

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January 2023    |

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