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Taste Radio Ep. 68: Talking Innovative Ventures and Investments with Owl’s Brew and 301INC

Episode 68 of the Taste Radio podcast features interviews with Jennie Ripps, the CEO and co-founder of tea-based cocktail mixer and beer brand Owl’s Brew, Pete Speranza, who is a New Business Development Principal with General Mills’ business development and venture capital arm 301INC, and the latest edition of Elevator Talk with Jason Petrou, the founder of Clean Energy Organics.

Amazon Invests In Growth; Whole Foods Posts Losses

The e-commerce retailer increased net sales by 25 percent to $38 billion for the quarter, but earned less per share then Wall Street was expecting. Amazon SVP and CFO Brian Olsavsky said Q2 year-over-year earning differences were ”driven by investments” in the company’s own technologies like Echo, a ramp-up of its original video business and increased spending on hiring and marketing.

VMG Closes New $550M Fund to Invest In Entrepreneurial Brands

This week private equity investment group VMG Partners announced the close of its fourth fund at $550 million, with another $150 million available in a flex-up vehicle. The capital, said VMG Managing Director Wayne Wu, will be invested in emerging, lower middle market companies producing consumable branded goods.

Protein2o Adds Gatorade Vets, $4 Million in New Funding

Protein-infused water brand Protein2O has added two beverage industry veterans to its leadership team and raised $4 million in new funding as it seeks to establish a leadership position in the segment of low-calorie protein beverages.

WTRMLN WTR Targeted In Class Action Suit

In a complaint filed against parent company World Waters LLC and World Waters Holdings, LLC in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York on July 8, attorneys for lead plaintiff Michael Pizzirusso argue that WTRMLN WTR’s product labels, in describing the liquid with the words “cold pressed juiced watermelon,” falsely represent that it consists of only watermelon juice.

Video: Bill Moses On Starting, Growing, Disrupting and Selling KeVita

During an interview at BevNET Live Summer 2017 in New York, KeVita founder and former CEO Bill Moses spoke at length about his experiences starting, growing and selling the company in his first interview since it was acquired by PepsiCo for around $230 million last November.

Bai Acquisition Still Settling for DPSG

DPSG spent $40 million in expenses for Bai during the spring, the company reported, half of which went toward marketing. An additional $49 million spent toward repaying debt contributed to the company’s 28 percent earnings drop.

Seattle’s Sound Kombucha On the Rise

From the name to the packaging to its presence at some of the city’s popular coffee chains and even on the Washington State Ferry, everything about Sound Kombucha is tied back to its roots in the local community.

Basemakers and Phoodie Merge

While Basemakers works with food and beverage brands to increase their visibility at retail, Phoodie uses a network of product demo specialists and event marketing professionals across the country to execute sampling initiatives.

Juice Served Here Heads East, Expands Grocery Presence

The cold-pressed juice maker, which began in 2012 as a Los Angeles-based brick-and-mortar chain of juice bars, have been steadily growing beyond its own locations and building a wholesale business at retailers, including Sprouts and Whole Foods.

Val Stalowir Named Reed’s CEO

In an interview with BevNET, Stalowir explained that, after investing in a new production facility in Los Angeles that went online last year, Reed’s is well-positioned to reduce costs and operate more efficiently moving forward.

Distribution Roundup: Roar, L.A. Libations Partner

Sports drink brand Roar Beverages announced a partnership with incubator L.A. Libations; Blossom Water picked up new placement in 750 grocery stores; Big Easy Bucha lands new distribution at Publix; Icelandic Glacial signs deal for distribution in China.

Caribe Seeks Growth With New Production Facility

With the long-term goal of further U.S. expansion firmly in its sights, the Sterling, Virginia-based cold-pressed juice company, which specializes in the tropical fruits and flavors of founder Luis Solis’s native Dominican Republic, has raised $2 million from a group of investors to build a new production and co-packing facility in the Dominican Republic which is set to go online this fall.

TemperPack Raises $10M To Upset Packaging Industry

SJF Ventures led the round, while other investors included Interplay Ventures, Third Prime Capital, Dolik Ventures, and Robert Beckler, the former president of packaging at WestRock.