The Flow: CT bottle bill; Enviga settlement

KPS Capital Partners, the new owner of Labatt USA, says it will keep Labatt’s offices in Buffalo and hopes to grow its employment. Nestle is cutting investment in bottled water, but will push the health benefits to help the business rebound. Santa Ana-based Access Beverage recently signed a letter of intent with New Patagonia SA to acquire a 40 percent interest in Lauquen Natural Artesian Water. Moody’s Investors Service upgraded its rating on $1.3 billion of a Pepsi Bottling Group subsidiary’s debt, and the bottler’s shares rose more than 3 percent. Abiline, Texas recently made a $500,000 incentive payment to help the local Coca-Cola plant upgrade equipment to help ensure the plant’s continued presence. The Development Corporation of Abilene’s board awarded the three-year grant to the bottler on condition that it invest $5 million in the upgrade project. DeCrescente Distributing Co. is moving forward with a $4 million expansion project near Schenectady, N.Y. PepsiAmericas, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors declared a first quarter 2009 dividend of $0.14 per share on PepsiAmericas common stock, an increase from the fourth quarter 2008 dividend of $0.135 per share. Hansen Natural Corp. posted a quarterly loss on termination charges related to transitioning Monster out of independent houses to Coca-Cola’s distribution network. Cott reported that its revenue declined at a lower rate in 2008 than it had in 2007.

Law, Policy and Advocacy
A Texas consumer is being sued by Red Diamond Tea after she reported discovering toxic chemicals in their drink and created a website to warn others. The Competitive Enterprise Institute recently came to the defense of bottled water, claiming activist campaigns have been filled with myths and half-truths, and have been motivated more by environmentalist ideology than evidence. The New York Times printed an editorial in favor of the New York state’s proposed Bigger Better Bottle Bill. An Oklahoma lawmaker says he wants to ban Cocaine energy drink. Coca-Cola Co. and Nestle agreed to pay $650,000 in a settlement with 27 states over claims that Enviga green tea burns calories. According to a study by Pacific Institute, a research group that works to advance environmental protection, bottled water is up to 2,000 times more energy-intensive than tap water. Connecticut’s legislature voted to add a five-cent deposit to bottled water sales. The American Beverage Association said the measure “raised taxes on hardworking families by adding a fee to every bottle of water.”

MidWest will be distributing BellaVoda Premium Artesian water to all of their customers throughout the MidWest. CRUNK!!! Energy Drink announced that MAPCO has signed on to carry CRUNK!!! in all of their stores stretching across 8 states. All 3 flavors of CRUNK!!! will be featured, with a promotion featuring CRUNK!!! running May 1st thru June 30th. WheyUP has expanded its distribution in its footprint market of Phoenix with the addition of 70 Quik Trip convenience stores serviced by newly-signed DSD Crescent Crown. McDonald’s ended test sales bottles of PepsiCo‘s Mountain Dew and Gatorade. Celsius Holdings, Inc. announced that Celsius is now available in more than 55 Gate Petroleum convenience stores in the Southeast.

Dean Bambrick joined TeaZazz Sparkling Tea as Vice President of Sales. Bambrick has over 15 years of beverage experience having previously worked for Jones Soda as Vice President South West as well as IZZE and Pepsi.

New SKUs
O.N.E. (One Natural Experience) will introduce two new products, O.N.E. with a Splash and O.N.E. Water, at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. Vita Coco announced the introduction of a new flavor, Vita Coco with Açaí & Pomegranate, available at retailers nationwide starting in March 2009. NIKA launched NIKA Water, the first CarbonFree Certified charity water on the market.

My Chemical Romance are seeking donations of Red Bull cans for a “Red Bull wall” drummer Bob Bryar hopes to complete by the time the band finish recording their new record. Coca-Cola and Visa have commenced event planning for the London 2012 Olympics. According to a new study, just having one single alcoholic beverage on a daily basis can greatly increase the risk of developing cancer for women. YCD Multimedia, provider of smart in-store digital media solutions to maximize retailer sales and profitability, unveiled the results of its work with Coca-Cola Israel at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas. A new study found that cutting calories, as opposed to carbs or fat, is the key to losing weight. The study pleased the American Beverage Association.

Hoby Buppert, founder and CEO of BAWLS Guarana, will participate as a panelist and business plan competition judge at the 2009 Miami Small Business Forum entitled “Entrepreneurship: Thriving in a Challenging Economy, an event hosted by the National Foundation for Teaching entrepreneurship and Florida International University. Inc. featured a story on (very) young entrepreneur Ben Lewis and his Give water brand. Red Bull has teamed up with MTV to bring viewers the breakdancing competition, Red Bull BC One. • Coca-Cola North America VP/Media & Interactive Annis Lyles is set to appear on the “Coca-Cola Unbottled” panel, just added to the agenda for RAB2009, March 16-18 in Orlando. The United States Agency for International Development and Coca-Cola have formed a global alliance — the Water and Development Alliance — to provide clean, potable water to Mozambique’s sixth largest urban region, Chimoio. This alliance brings together funding commitments from all partners totaling about $1.79 million, of which $500,000 comes from USAID. Her Energy CEO Brett Jacobson starred as a hopeful millionaire bachelor on Bravo TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker. MC2 Energy Drink announced it is teaming up with NASCAR Nationwide driver Casey Atwood and veteran team owner Wayne Day for the Sam’s Town 300 on February 28th at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. On March 15, Coca-Cola Recycling will join the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana to create a recycling initiative at this year’s Calle Ocho in Miami and generate greater awareness about recycling among consumers. Jump Innovations LLC announced their renewed partnership with Operation Homefront. HYDRIVE Energy announced that they have signed bicyclist Sam Whittingham to be the “spokes” person for their enhanced water energy drink brand.