VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–LEADING BRANDS, INC. (NASDAQ: LBIX, TSX: LBI),
Canada’s largest independent, fully integrated brand management company,
announces that it has agreed to terminate its relationship with Energy Brands
for the distribution of Glaceau Vitamin Water and Go-Go Passion Energy Drink.
The Company has also decided to postpone the introduction of PopStraw in its
Johnny’s Roadside(R) line of lemonades and iced teas, likely to Spring 2003.
Leading Brands Chairman and CEO Ralph D. McRae said: “We were recently advised
by Energy Brands of their intention to discontinue their Go-Go Passion Energy
Drink and we have consequently ceased distribution in Canada. Go-Go was
producing limited sales for us and was a distant third in our energy drink
line-up to Hansen’s Energy(TM) and newly-introduced Base(TM).”
“Coinciding with that we agreed to terminate all of our relationships with
Energy Brands, including our agreement for distribution of their Vitamin Water
product in Canada. We were particularly troubled by two developments. First,
the introduction of a plethora of ‘vitamin-enhanced’ drinks by Energy Brands’
competitors that would limit any first mover advantage and, second, Energy
Brands’ insistence that we not hire any of their employees to support our US
expansion, in any circumstance. These were conditions that we were simply not
prepared to accept.
Mr. McRae added: “Our decision to push back the introduction of PopStraw was
driven by the simple fact that we are extremely busy with the launch of our new
TREK(TM) Optimized Performance Beverages(TM) and Pez(R) 100% Juice(TM) lines.
Demand for Trek(TM) continues to exceed all of our expectations as we continue
our market-by-market rollout and ramp up of production. We remain on track for
launch of Pez(R) 100% Juice(TM) by the end of Summer 2002.”
“I also have a personal request. We receive numerous calls each week from
shareholders anxious to know the progress of our launches. We try to take the
time to answer these on a personal basis, but the call volume has become simply
overwhelming. National product rollouts of this nature take time. We urge
those who have questions about the progress of TREK(TM) to consult the
www.trekenergy.com website where, starting in a week or so you will be able to
locate retailers who carry the product. We will also find a way to keep people
abreast of the particulars of the rollout of Pez(TM) 100% Juice(TM), when the
time is appropriate. We are also considering initiating quarterly conference
calls to discuss periodic developments.”
About Leading Brands, Inc.
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBIX, TSE:LBI) is the largest independent, fully
integrated premium beverage company in Canada. The Company’s unique Integrated
Distribution System (IDS) (TM) offers turnkey, one-stop shopping to food and
beverage brand owners, including manufacturing, distribution, sales/marketing
and licensing. In addition, Leading Brands produces their own line of
beverages such as TREK(R), Johnny’s Roadside(R) Iced Tea and Lemonade, Country
Harvest(R) Juices, Caesar’s(R) Bloody Caesar Cocktail, and Cool Canadian(R)
Water. Leading Brands recently undertook a major expansion into the United
States, with its US headquarters located in Stamford, CT. Its subsidiary,
Quick, Inc. is building a home replenishment and delivery system for the new
Statements in this news release that are not historical are to be regarded as
forward-looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties that
could cause actual results to differ materially. Such risks and uncertainties
with respect to the Company’s business include general economic conditions,
weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, and the
availability of raw materials and economic uncertainties, including currency.
We Build Brands(TM)
(C)2002 Leading Brands, Inc.
This news release is available at www.LBIX.com
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT :
Leading Brands, Inc.
Ralph D. McRae
Chairman and CEO
Phone: (604) 214-9722 ext. 238
Leading Brands, Inc.
Chief Marketing Officer
Phone: (203) 323-9435 Ext.3004
Strategic Growth International, Inc.
Stan Altschuler/David Waldman
Phone: (516) 829-7111
INDUSTRY : SFT
SUBJECT : NWS