Adina Searches for New Investment

Not everyone was going coconuts at Natural Products Expo East. Despite all the talk about cash infusions into that growing category, another fast-growing player was looking for its own next round of financing.

Adina Beverages, famously run by industry veterans Greg Steltenpohl and John Bello, is apparently on the verge of pulling in another round of financing with the hopes of fueling rapid expansion across the country, according to Bello.

“It will be both internal and external, including current investors, distributors, and an outside major player,” Bello told BevNET. “It’ll be good.”

Internal funding would include money from Bello’s own Sherbrooke venture capital fund. While Bello would not reveal the identity of the “major player,” investors representing Pepsi Bottling Group, Coca-Cola’s VEB unit, and even wild-card CIC Partners – a firm that includes former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico – spent time sniffing around the Adina booth.

Powered by the launch of Holistics, its SoBe-esque, monkey-emblazoned line of herbal infusions, Adina has shown quick growth into both the California and New England DSD approvals. With 36 distributors on board and 20 more on tap, Bello said, “We’re doing better than SoBe did the first year. I see a lot of similarities.”

“If we do a third of what SoBe did the first year,” he added, “I’ll be pretty happy.”

Still, there’s a lot of ground to cover between the Northeast and sunny California, and Bello remains concerned about getting his product across the country before competitive products appear.

“We want to get as far as we can as fast as we can,” he said. “SoBe could’ve been much bigger if people hadn’t copied us. Once we have a solid platform, product that rips off the shelf, we’ll go as fast as we can to get broad market coverage, but we’ve got to piece together a distributor network to do that.”