Only two weeks into 2016, the new year has already seen a number of comings and going in the beverage industry.
Just days after being featured in Forbes’ 2016 30 Under 30 list, Suja co-founder Annie Lawless announced she will no longer be actively involved in the company. In a post published on her personal blog, Lawless wrote that “There were things that I loved at the beginning of the company that became lost.”
“There were personalities that changed and dynamics became different,” she added. “Egos grew. There were things that just didn’t feel good anymore.”
Lawless’ decision comes just five months after the Coca-Cola Company acquired a minority stake in Suja worth $90 million. The investment in the company was based on a valuation of $300 million.
As for what’s next for Lawless, the 28-year-old Phoenix native revealed she’ll be focusing more on her blog and the upcoming launch of her YouTube channel. She also teased that a new brand is on the horizon.
Elsewhere, Matthew Collins, a former chief operating officer and executive vice president of sales at Zola, has joined San Francisco-based cold-pressed juice company Forager as its chief revenue officer. Collins returns to his beverage business roots after a seven month stint as COO of organic snack brand 479.
Brand incubator L.A. Libations has hired Laura Sauls as the vice president of marketing for its in-house brand Aloe Gloe. Sauls comes to L.A. Libations having held marketing roles with Boxed Water and organic energy brand Little Miracles. She also worked as a marketing associate with coconut water brand Zico from 2010-2014.
Meanwhile, cold-pressed juice brand Evolution Fresh has brought on former Honest Tea vice president of sales Dan Cavanaugh as a consultant. Cavanaugh, who’s been doing double duty as director of sales for low-alcohol kombucha brand KomBrewCha and the vice president of sales for Orgain, will assist with Evolution’s up-and-down-the-street business in New York City.
Inko’s tea founder Andy Schamisso is back with a new beverage brand, a year and a half after Inko’s acquisition by Braintrust Investments. Schamisso is CEO of Paya Beverage, LLC, described on Schamisso’s LinkedIn account as “a new element to the burgeoning plant-based beverage market.”