Icelandic Glacial’s new $8 million financing deal came from “friends and family,” according to company CEO and president, Jon Olafsson. The money from the group of unnamed private investors will be used to help grow the business in the U.S. and help Icelandic Glacial officially launch in China in January 2011.
The goal in the U.S. is to “hire more people and put more people behind product in elite markets,” with an initial focus on California, New York and Florida, and attention to surrounding markets including Arizona Texas, Nevada and New Mexico, according to Olafsson. Product is currently being distributed by Anheuser-Busch/InBev, which also has about a 20 percent stake in the company, Olaffson said, but made no contributions to the $8 million investment.
On the other side of the globe, Icelandic Glacial has been planning to enter China for over a year and a half. Olafsson cited the country’s impressive water market – the second largest in the word – and its interesting nature as reasons to enter the market there. “It will be a good move for us,” he added.
Meanwhile, Icelandic Glacial has also been appearing in hotels worldwide – something Olafsson says will not cease as the company focuses on bringing product to new states and countries. The company has thus far experienced double-digit growth this year, he said, helped in part by its exclusive deal with Hilton – the water appears in hotels across the US, Mexico and in the Caribbean – and this summer they signed the Palace Hotel in New York City as a client. With these moves, Olafsson remains optimistic and anticipates that the company will contribute to growing the bottled water category in general through 2011. “It’s been a couple of rough years in the US economy,” he said. “Hopefully next year will be the year that things start to change.”