Adina: We Need $10 Million

Norm Snyder, Adina's President and COO

With news that company has been talking to potential investors leaking out, BevNET spoke with Adina President Norm Snyder recently to determine the current state of the brand.

According to Snyder, without a cash infusion of about $10 million by year end, Adina will enter slowdown mode, although it is not in danger of going out of business, he said.

“It just takes time to get from Point A to Point B,” Snyder said. “And obviously money.”

Adina, originally a project undertaken to introduce fair-trade juice, tea and coffee blends to the market, has grown to encompass beverage experts Greg Steltenpohl — who has since exited — and John Bello, the SoBe founder who eventually brought on Snyder, his former COO. The brand has a high-end pedigree, featuring millions of dollars in investment from both Bello’s own Sherbrooke capital as well as former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico’s CIC partners. It quickly gained near-national distribution and even as the brand floundered in its development — shifting from juices to canned and bottled coffee blends and finally to its current state, Adina Holistics, executives kept tinkering with the product and formulation, hoping to bring down margins and ramp up sales.

To some extent, that has worked — Adina has not just managed to get into dozens of independent DSD houses, it has also built agreements with Dr Pepper/Snapple in Northern California and Pittsburgh, and now is moving into that company’s Southwest business unit in December, Snyder said.

But even if there’s full coverage, without investment, Snyder warned, the brand’s ignition might never occur.

“You can hold out by slowing down, but that’s not something you want to do,” he told BevNET.

The cost to avoid that slowdown?

“We’re looking for about $10 million,” he said. “We would have to have investors re-up by year end.”

The company has been working the phones — mostly because Sherbrooke, which has led most of the previous financing rounds, is limited in the amount of capital it can put into a single business.

“There’s a lot of money out there,” Snyder said, “But it’s really about finding the right party. It’s getting the right fund for the right time of your development, it’s the appetite and the patience.”

And it’s not like investors have ignored Adina in the past, as it has drawn in more than $20 million since 2008.

Still, it rankles Snyder to see that other, newer, functional brands might be passing Adina by. Even with Adina’s depletions up 30 percent this year, newer functional brands Neuro and Activate, in particular, both seem to have more dry powder. Both are brands initially funded by millionaires from outside the beverage industry, and they are drawing needed attention from distributors and even from up-and-down the street accounts.

“There’s a lot of positives to draw on, but the grass is always greener,” Snyder said. “When you see brands like Neuro and Activate sitting on a larger piggybank, which we don’t have, there’s a little jealousy.”