A report that the crunchy, Colorado-based fizzy juice company Izze Beverages had been sold to CSD giant PepsiCo left employees nervous, sad, and unsure of their fates today.
While Izze representatives would not comment on a story in online beverage trade Beverage Business Insights that the company had been sold to PepsiCo for $75 million, employees within the company confirmed it, with one saying that the hip, eco-friendly mountain brand would be the “Prius of Pepsi.”
Ironically, Business Week recently reported on the major opportunities for Izze and its juice-only compatriots within school districts, which have agreed to abandon traditional soda vending by 2010 as a result of an agreement between the major soft drink companies and a group of activists and nonprofits led by former President Bill Clinton.
According to owner Todd Woloson, the company needed extra manpower this summer to keep up with demand and had been rejiggering its distribution system to prepare for the increased product flow.
But in addition to distribution changes, other change has been in the air at Izze over the past year, as Woloson’s co-founder, Greg Stroh, left the company and a new chairman, beverage business veteran John Bello, came on board.
The company had recently penetrated the large supermarket chain Publix, as well, but increasing pressure from investors – the company has been supported by two large rounds of venture financing – as well as Bello’s previous sale of SoBe to PepsiCo jump-started talk of a sale.