Zico Beverages, LLC announces $15 million investment from key strategic partners

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ermosa Beach, Calif., Sept. 1, 2009 – ZICO Beverages, LLC., makers of ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water -Nature’s Sports Drink®, today announced that key strategic partners have invested $15 million in the company for growth and expansion purposes. The round includes an investment from The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), for a minority stake of less than 20%. Other investors include Jesse Itzler, principal of Suite 850 and co-founder of Marquis Jet, a number of A-list celebrities, successful beverage entrepreneurs, and independent beverage distributors.



“This support from such an exciting and influential consortium of investors certainly validates the broad potential we’ve known ZICO had from the outset,” said Mark Rampolla, ZICO’s founder and chief executive officer. “Building on our established momentum and powered by this new investment, we plan to introduce the ZICO brand and its natural health benefits to a much larger mainstream audience, which has always been our mission.”



Coconut water, rich in electrolytes, particularly potassium, is known historically across the tropical world for its hydrating and replenishing properties. ZICO is one of the pioneers in the development of the coconut water category in the US where the brand has been experiencing explosive growth among health-conscious, active consumers. ZICO has become the natural replenishment beverage of choice among leading runners, cyclists, tri-athletes, yogis, surfers and others.



The investment was led by Coca-Cola North America’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) Business Unit. “VEB continues to seek out burgeoning brands that have the potential to change the way consumers look at beverages. Combining the natural goodness of ZICO, the combined marketing acumen of ZICO’s team and Suite 850 and the brand building expertise of VEB certainly makes for an innovative partnership,” said Deryck van Rensburg, President and General Manager, Venturing and Emerging Brands, Coca-Cola North America.



As part of the transaction, Suite 850 will provide consumer activation and brand building services to ZICO. “I’ve been familiar with the health benefits of coconut water for some time, so when I had the chance to be involved with this incredible product, I didn’t hesitate. I’m excited to work with Mark, his team and Coca-Cola to further build on the popularity of ZICO and help introduce the brand to a wider audience of athletes and health conscious consumers,” said Jesse Itzler.



ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water is sold nationally in select major grocery and natural foods stores, gyms, yoga studios and online. “We’ve watched ZICO build from nothing to become one of the hottest beverage brands in New York City. It appeals to a broad base of consumers and we can’t wait to get it in to the hands of more New Yorkers and watch it expand to additional markets,” said Lewis Hershkowitz CEO, Big Geyser, Inc. an independent distribution company in New York.



About ZICO Beverages, LLC.

Founded in 2004 by Mark Rampolla, ZICO Beverages, LLC. (pronounced Zee-co) is the maker of ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, a 100% pure coconut water with natural flavor essences. With more potassium than a banana and four other essential electrolytes, low acidity, no fat, no sugar added, and no cholesterol, ZICO is the natural, refreshing way to rehydrate and replenish. The unique processing and packaging system captures and retains the exotic flavor and nutritional benefits of coconut water for six months so you can enjoy ZICO anytime and everywhere. ZICO can be found at leading yoga studios, gyms, natural food stores and gourmet grocers in select markets across the country. ZICO is headquartered in Hermosa Beach, Calif. For more information, visit www.zico.com.



About Venturing and Emerging Brands

Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) is a dedicated operating unit of Coca-Cola North America charged with identifying and developing high-potential growth brands in the North American beverage space. VEB accomplishes this objective through a combination of internal innovation, importation of global brands, and investments in external emerging brands. With direct access to the global resources and industry expertise of The Coca-Cola Company and its system, VEB is uniquely positioned to develop emerging beverage brands of The Coca-Cola Company to their full potential.



About Suite 850

Suite 850 is a brand incubator and full-service marketing firm founded by Jesse Itzler, Co-Founder of Marquis Jet Partners, the world’s largest jet card program. Suite 850 creates original brands and partners with emerging businesses to produce cultural phenomena through its access to celebrities, athletes, influencers, and tastemakers. The company’s in-house team is responsible for the development, design, packaging, positioning and marketing of each brand, product and service. Suite 850 is headquartered in New York City.