Back on the Juice: First Beverage Group Purchases Stake in Purity Organic Juices

First Beverage Group announced yesterday that it has purchased a stake in San Francisco-based Purity Organic Juices. While details regarding the exact size and amount of the investment have not been disclosed, Tom First, a co-managing director at First Beverage Group, described the deal as being a “significant investment for a significant part of the company.”

Purity Organic Juices was founded in 2006 as an offshoot of Purity Organic Produce, the largest supplier of tree picked fruit in the world. Through its investment in the company, First Beverage will look to continue and expand upon the growth of Purity, which, according to First, has achieved a 30 percent growth in revenues in each of the last three years.

As a key figure in the decision to invest in Purity, First saw several similarities in the development of the company as compared to Nantucket Nectars, a company he co-founded nearly 20 years ago, noting that Purity has benefited from steady growth, wise investments, and good support of the product by its management.

“Like Nantucket Nectars, Purity has proven traction in the marketplace, a basic foundation for a great brand, opportunity for capital investment, and a product that can fit into the portfolio of distributors, retailers and consumers,” First said. “Additionally, Purity’s quality is second to none. The company has the opportunity to redefine what quality juice is in the same the way that Nantucket Nectars did back in the 1990s.”

First will play a strategic role in shaping the next stages of development for Purity and said that the company will continue to focus on growth in the existing core markets of Northern and Southern California and New York, and based on the availability of distribution and retail partners, look to enter three to four new markets in the coming year. While First was not specific about exactly which markets, he did note that, “There’s a lot of opportunity on the East Coast, and we’ll certainly be looking at DSD distribution.”

As part of First Beverage’s investment, Purity’s juice and produce units will become two separate entities, though the juice unit will retain the ability to use the Purity trademark for its current and future offerings. In doing so, First noted the strength of brand name to potentially develop new product lines and stated that, “With a name like Purity Organic, the field is pretty wide open for other things that we can do in organic beverages, and we’ll certainly consider them.”