The Latest News on the Brands You Sell

Marley’s New Man

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The Marley Beverage Company (MBC) announced that it has appointed Harry Bigelow as president and chief executive officer.

Bigelow has spent more than 30 years in the beverage industry, including executive roles with E. & J. Gallo Winery, PepsiCo, Diageo North America and Red Bull GmbH. He most recently served as general manager and vice president of Red Bull North America.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to take the Marley Beverage Company to the next stage of growth and development,” Bigelow said in a release.

The hire follows several months of the company shifting key executive roles and business strategies. Kevin McClafferty, former president and CEO of Viva Beverages, which markets MBC, announced his resignation in August. McClafferty has since joined former MBC president Robert Nistico and former global marketing director Lee Brody at Splash Beverages.

 

Pear Takes the Lead at Cheribundi

cheribundi2Brian Ross has left Cheribundi, a company he both invested in and led as CEO.

The departure was amicable, according to Ross, who said he spent the last four weeks training Steve Pear, the president and general manager of Coca-Cola-owned Odwalla, to take on his new role at the tart cherry juice company. Ross remains an investor in Cheribundi, and said he helped interview his successor.

Meanwhile, Ross is moving on to Made in Nature, a Boulder, Colo.-based maker of fresh and dried organic fruits and vegetables. Ross will fill the newly-created role of Chief Innovation Officer at Made in Nature, one of the oldest organic, non-GMO food companies in the U.S. He will be working on new product and channel development, trying to get the fast-growing company into mainstream accounts like Target, Walmart, and mainstream grocery accounts.

“There’s not really a brand that’s all-organic that plays in all these channels,” he said. “And it’s profitable, which is fantastic.”

Ross, a natural products veteran who co-founded Oregon Chai and worked at Izze and cleaning products company Twist, took Cheribundi from a tiny distribution radius into a product line distributed in thousands of stores, from Whole Foods to Walmart. Along the way, the brand added investment from family office Emil Capital and tried to foment a tart cherry revolution among athletes and young consumers.

But Ross’ run at Cheribundi was affected deeply by a freakishly bad tart cherry harvest in 2012, which left the company scrambling to pivot from purely functional cherry juices to a series of refresher and tea lines that use smaller percentages of cherries. The brand’s margins were deeply hit and it wasn’t able to run promotions for the year, cutting into its revenue as well. Since then, it has managed to get into new accounts but has still not caught fire behind the health benefits of tart cherries, which can be a potent anti-inflammatory.

“It’s a great brand with a lot of upside potential,” Ross said of Cheribundi. “I’m looking forward to watching it continue to grow.”

 

All Hail Stone

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South Carolina lawmakers in both the House and Senate have passed what has become known as the Stone Bill, effectively loosening restrictions on how brewers in the Palmetto State do business.

The bill will allow brewpubs to apply for brewery licenses, which will enable them to serve food while producing an unlimited amount of beer. An earlier version of the bill sought instead to amend the brewpub definition by stretching the state’s production cap of 2,000 barrels up to 500,000.

Brook Bristow, a lawyer with Bradford Neal Martin & Associates who provides general counsel to the South Carolina Brewers Association, said the vote marks a “new day in our state for craft beer.”

“It’s written in a way that benefits our existing craft breweries, but it tells the Stones of the world, the Deschutes of the world, and whoever comes after them, that our doors are open for business,” he said. “We support craft breweries. That’s something we want in this state.”

Julie Cox, executive director of the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association (SCBWA), reiterated that they are “very excited” as well, despite early reservations regarding some specific language in the bill.

“We’re very excited. We support the craft brewers and their growth in the state and always have,” she said.

“It’s a win for distributors because they’re going to have more beer to distribute,” he said Sen. Sean Bennett (R). “It’s a win for the brewers and it’s a win for the consumers.”

The bill was dubbed the “Stone Bill” as it was inspired by Stone Brewing Co., the Escondido, Calif.-based brewery that is actively looking for a location to invest upwards of $30 million to build an East Coast facility, which it estimates may create up to 400 jobs.

 

Golazo Scores with Pelé

GolazoPeleThe Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade once said of his fellow countryman: “The difficulty, the extraordinary, is not to score 1,000 goals like Pelé – it’s to score one goal like Pelé.”

With news that the king of the “beautiful game” will endorse Golazo, an energy drink with a soccer tinge, Andrade’s words still hold relevance and truth. For a brand that embraces the world’s most popular sport, no other person could have the same kind of global influence. Not Maradona. Not Messi. Even at 73 years of age, there’s only one Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or, as the world has dubbed him throughout his irrefutable reign, there’s only one Pelé.

The company’s announcement of the partnership was timed with the date and location of the World Cup, the planet’s top soccer tournament in mind. Pelé will work as a global brand ambassador for Golazo, which is made with caffeine from green coffee beans and yerba maté, electrolytes, simple carbohydrates and potassium from coconut water.

Richard Tait, co-founder of Golazo, said in a company release that the partnership celebrates peak performance and natural excellence.

In the release, Pelé said: “I know the importance of making healthy choices to provide your body with the fuel to be the best you can be, both on and off the field. I am excited to partner with Golazo, a company that matches my conviction for natural and healthier products with my passion for the beautiful game.”

Golazo announced in April that it has also partnered with DeAndre Yedlin, defender for the Seattle Strikers and the U.S. national team, and Will Johnson, midfielder for the Portland Timbers and the Canadian national team. However, despite the talents of these two brand endorsers, Pelé’s presence embodies a different kind of scope. To that point, even Yedlin and Johnson would bear no qualms.

 

The Bruery Adds New Brand

Bruery-TerreuxPopular high-end craft beer maker The Bruery has announced plans to form a new brand, Bruery Terreux, which will focus entirely on farmhouse-style and oak-aged sour ales fermented with wild yeast strains.

The Orange County, Calif.-based brewery stated that it will “rededicate its focus” with regard to its original Bruery brand, “specifically on experimentation with non-wild ales, modern twists on classic styles and aging beer in bourbon and other spirit barrels,” according to a company statement.

Benjamin Weiss, the brewery’s director of marketing, told Brewbound that the original idea for a division was sparked, in part, by quality issues. In 2013, the company released five beers that, according to a company blog post from December, “didn’t go as planned.”

Weiss said the company has been producing its sour offerings in another warehouse for a while now, however, and believes its previous quality concerns are behind it. Nevertheless, he said, Bruery Terreux should allow the company to further diminish the chance of producing off-flavored beers, as the fermentation and aging of sour and wild offerings will shift to a separate facility, apart from its core line of of more traditional product offerings.

With the creation of Terreux, the company also plans to build a new tasting room in Anaheim, Calif. Weiss said The Bruery has invested upwards of $4 million to get the project up and running.

Earlier this year, the company announced the purchase of a new, semi-automatic GEA Huppmann brewhouse, a bottling line, centrifuge, multiple fermenters, brite tanks, and other equipment that will help double capacity. The project is being financed by loans from U.S. Bank.

The timeline for completion of the project is fluid, though Weiss said ideally the new facility will be operational by January 1, 2015. With the new space, Weiss added, the company will also be looking to hire staffers for the tasting room and brewery operations.