Activate Adds Marketing Muscle

Activate Drinks maker The Rising Beverage Company has announced that it has hired Jesse Merrill as its new Director of Marketing.

Merrill had been VP Marketing of Honest Tea. He will work directly under Activate CEO Dan Holland.

Merrill is expected to help Activate continue the growth that has brought the company near-complete DSD coverage on the West Coast. A veteran of Honest Tea's grassroots, nontraditional marketing campaigns, Merrill has been helped develop projects like the company's "Honest City" program.

Activate has not yet had a designated marketing focus to date, focusing instead on establishing distribution and a dependable supply chain. According to Holland, Merrill's addition to the team "brings a critical element to the marketing development of the brand.  Activate is poised for tremendous nationwide growth and Jesse’s specialized experience in this area will allow us to capitalize on our brand awareness and potential for expansion."

Tata Global Beverages, among other investors, committed $21 million in financing to the company in October.

Merrill is one of a slow trickle of Honest Tea executives who have left the brand as it prepares for purchase by the Coca-Cola Company. Recently, Dan Cavanaugh, who as VP of sales for Honest Tea helped grow it into a nationally-distributed brand, left the company.