PepsiCo Doubles Down on Craft Soda
Earlier this month, PepsiCo introduced a new packaged format for its Stubborn line of craft sodas.
PepsiCo launched the Stubborn brand in the foodservice channel last year. The new beverages are packaged in 12 oz. glass bottles and are made with fair trade certified cane sugar and contain no high fructose corn syrup. The line comes in five varieties that PepsiCo describes as an “unexpected twist on traditional flavors,” such as Black Cherry with Tarragon, Agave Vanilla Cream and Orange Hibiscus.
“Consumers are changing,” Scott Finlow, vice president of innovation and insights for global foodservice at PepsiCo told Fortune. “They want quality products with different, more natural ingredients.”
Finlow said that PepsiCo views craft beverages as an important part of the company’s future, telling Fortune that “Craft is not a fad. It is here to stay.”
“We think craft is a critical growth space and we hope this is something we will be talking about for years to come,” he said.
Stubborn Soda has 90-100 calories per bottle, depending on variety. The sodas retail for $1.99 for a single bottle and $5.39 for a 4-pack.
Happy Tree Maple Water Featured on CNBC’s “West Texas Investors Club”
A recent episode of CNBC’s “West Texas Investors Club” featured Happy Tree Maple Water co-founder Ari Tolwin pitching the show’s hosts and provocateurs, self-made multimillionaires Rooster McConaughey and Butch Gilliam, for investment in the maple water company.
Tolwin was one of several entrepreneurs to appear on the show, each making their case as to why McConaughey and Gilliam should invest in their companies. A video clip promoting the episode with Tolwin, features a blind taste test between Happy Tree’s maple water and an unnamed coconut water. The clip mentions Happy Tree as having an $8 million valuation, but does not indicate whether McConaughey and Gilliam decided to purchase a stake in the company.
ABA Spends Heavily In Effort to Defeat Oakland Sugary Beverage Tax
Oakland is the latest U.S. city attempting to enact a soda tax on sugary beverages and the American Beverage Association (ABA) is once again spending big to defeat the proposal. According to an article on EastBayExpress.com, the proposed tax measure calls for a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, with proceeds going toward public health programs in Oakland. City voters will go to the polls in November to decide the fate of the bill.
The ABA, a beverage industry trade group largely funded by big soda producers, has spent nearly $750,000 on campaign consultants and advertisements in hopes of convincing voters to reject the tax proposal. By comparison, supporters of the measure have spent approximately $23,300.
In June, Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to pass a tax on sugary drinks. Campaign finance records showed that the ABA spent $10.6 million to try defeat the tax, outspending supporters by a 5-to-1 margin.
Beverage Companies Dot Inc. 5000
This year’s Inc. 5000, an annual list of the fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S., as compiled by Inc. magazine, includes a handful of non-alcoholic beverage companies. Suja Juice led the pack for all beverage manufacturers, landing at number 13 on the list, which ranks companies based on revenue growth over the past three years (and at least $2 million in 2015 revenue). Inc. reports Suja’s 2015 revenue as $65.8 million.
Other notable companies include Chameleon Cold-Brew, whose 2015 revenue is listed at $9 million, at number 140, Bai Brands ($119.9 million) at 163, Kohana Coffee ($7.4 million) at 225, Humm Kombucha ($4 million) at 238, LifeAid Beverage Co. ($4.3 million) at 396, and Hiball Energy ($8.5 million) coming in at 844.