Apple & Eve, the largest privately held juice company in the U.S., today announced that it has acquired The Switch Beverage Co., which markets a line of sparkling 100 percent juice drinks.
The acquisition comes nearly nine years after Luther King Capital Management (LKCM), a privately-owned investment firm based in Fort Worth, Texas, purchased Switch, and in 2006 installed Maura Mottolese as president of the beverage company. Mottolese, who previously held executive roles with Revlon and Snapple, later took the helm as CEO and is widely credited with the growth of Switch and a strategy that focused on sales to U.S. schools.
Silverwood Partners acted as the exclusive financial advisor for transaction, terms of which were not disclosed. Silverwood has overseen recent M& A and financing deals for several beverage companies, including KeVita, Balance Water, Neuro, and, most recently, Essentia Water.
Gordon Crane, the President and CEO of Apple & Eve, views the deal as one that will strengthen the company’s presence in the U.S. school system, in which Apple & Eve currently sells a number of products.
“Our Apple & Eve and FRUITABLES brands of 100% juices are among the leaders in shelf stable juices in U.S. schools,” Crane said in a statement. “Adding The Switch provides us the strongest portfolio of brands for all possible school usage occasions.”
At press time, Mottolese was unavailable for comment, and while it’s unclear what, if any, role she’ll have with Switch, Larry Belka, who had been the company’s VP of sales, was recently hired by organic juice company Purity Organic for the same position.
Here is Apple & Eve’s statement in full:
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Privately held juice company, Apple & Eve, LLC announced that it has acquired The Switch Beverage Company, a marketer of 100% sparkling juices, to support the company’s plans for growth and expansion specifically in the school nutrition channel.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Founded in 2001, The Switch Beverage Company, located in Darien, CT, is one of the leading marketers of 100% sparkling juices in the United States. Focused primarily on the K-12 school nutrition channel,
The Switch is available in 7 flavors of 8oz slim cans. The Switch is also available in grocery, club and is among the top selling juices on Amazon.com.
“We are excited to add The Switch brand of 100% Sparkling Juices to our portfolio,” said Gordon Crane, President and CEO of Apple & Eve. “Our Apple & Eve and FRUITABLES brands of 100% juices are among the leaders in shelf stable juices in US schools. Adding The Switch provides us the strongest portfolio of brands for all possible school usage occasions.”
Bill Harrison, VP Sales School Nutrition at Apple & Eve added, “The USDA has changed guidelines for foods and beverages sold at schools that go into effect next year that greatly benefit a brand like The Switch. Providing great tasting beverages that promote health and wellness to US students and school nutrition directors is our #1 objective. The Switch has proven beyond a doubt to be a best in class brand that students love and nutrition directors trust.”
About The Switch
The Switch is one of the leading sparkling juice brands sold to schools in the U.S. Founded in 2001 and headquartered inDarien, CT, the company focuses on healthy products to sell primarily to schools. The Switch products are also sold in supermarkets, warehouse clubs, health food stores, convenience stores as well as online retailers. For more information, visit www.switchbev.com.
About Apple & Eve
Apple & Eve is the largest privately held juice company in the U.S., with total annual sales topping $250 million. Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Port Washington, NY, the company focuses on healthy and innovative juice products. Apple & Eve produces and markets a complete line of juices, including Apple & Eve 100% pure and natural juices and juice blends, Fruitables brand of fruit and vegetable blends, Northland Cranberry Juice blends, Seneca, Sesame Street 100% Juices, Organics, and a wide variety of convenient single-serve beverages. Apple & Eve products are sold in supermarkets, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, natural food stores, schools and convenience stores across the country. For more information, visit www.appleandeve.com.