KeVita announced Wednesday that it has expanded operations with three veteran sales hires for its team, as well as a new headquarters in Southern California. The additions come in response to surging demand for sparkling probiotic drinks, according to a company release.
The company itself has been surging: sales of KeVita have increased in natural and specialty retail channels by 61.3 percent to more than $5 million in the previous 52 weeks, ending on Dec. 21., 2013, according to SPINS, a provider of syndicated market research.
In adding Brett Lanford and Rich Lust as directors of sales and Tim Arneson as senior vice president of sales, “we hired the country’s most knowledgeable experts in the functional beverage space,” KeVita CEO and co-founder Bill Moses said in the release.
“Combining their expertise and experience with KeVita’s handcrafted probiotic culture will give us a competitive advantage and is setting us up for future growth.”
Lanford will serve as senior director of sales, overseeing KeVita’s sales and distribution strategies in the West. Before joining KeVita, Lanford served as the director of sales for Odwalla, acting as the primary liaison between The Coca-Cola Co., Inc., and The Whole Foods Market global team.
Lust will lead KeVita’s eastern sales division. He previously worked with AQUAhydrate and PepsiCo.
Arneson, who most recently was in a senior sales role with FRS, will oversee KeVita’s sales department, working with distributors to continue the company’s growth. He also previously worked with Naked, PepsiCo, Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade.
KeVita’s new, larger facility is located in Oxnard, Calif., a coastal city of Ventura County about 60 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. The 20,000 square-foot facility is home to the company’s executive, marketing, sales, customer service, operations and accounting offices. It also features KeVita’s production line, quality assurance laboratory, research and development laboratory, loading docks and cold storage.
“Ventura County is a thriving business community and we are thrilled to move to a more centrally-located area,” Moses said in the release. “By doubling the square footage of KeVita’s manufacturing facility, it will allow us to meet rising demand for our probiotic drinks on a local and national level.”
KeVita produces a line of probiotic drinks that range from five to 45 calories per serving. The products, which are vegan and free of dairy, gluten and GMOs, feature a proprietary probiotic culture of four strains. The beverages can be found nationwide in retailers such as Safeway, Vons, Kroger, Ralphs, Sprouts and Whole Foods.