Press Clips: L.A. Clippers Sponsors Flee, Rebuke

AQUAHYDRATE, INC. REBRANDINGBefore the NBA fined and handed down a lifetime ban to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, most sponsors of the basketball franchise were fleeing and expressing their criticisms. While some sponsors have already returned to the Clippers, a few beverage companies haven’t done the same.

Red Bull, Constellation Brands and AQUAhydrate all released statements on the matter, according to an article published Monday (before the ban) on Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Red Bull said that it trusts the NBA will investigate the allegations. The company has suspended team-related marketing, but continues to support endorser Blake Griffin, his teammates and the coaching staff.

On Monday via its Twitter account, AQUAhydrate said that it has suspended its Clippers sponsorship until the NBA completes its investigation.

Constellation Brands, which owns Corona, also chipped in:

“Like everyone else, Corona is appalled by the comments allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. These comments run counter to the type of brand Corona aspires to be. Because of this, we are suspending agreement with the Clippers until the NBA completes its investigation.”

Let’s switch gears to something more positive, such as the continued growth of coconut water. A recently-compiled graph and story by Quartz writers Roberto A. Ferdman and Nikhil Sonnad exhibit the sharp incline of the category.

The article reports that Vita Coco, easily the largest coconut water brand in the U.S., racked up nearly $270 million in sales last year; almost 300 times what it sold in 2004, the company’s first year on the market. ZICO has elevated from a $100,000 business in 2007 to $87 million last year, buoyed by its sale to The Coca-Cola Co. PepsiCo’s O.N.E. Coconut Water has grown by nearly 600 percent since 2009.

“It’s caught on fire because it’s been touted as nature’s electrolytes,” Virginia Lee, a senior research analyst with market research firm Euromonitor, told Quartz. “Coconut water producers like to claim that it naturally replenishes your body. It’s also been positioned as a low-calorie drink.”

Meanwhile, a host of reporters from the mainstream media circles have dubbed maple water as the heir to coconut water’s throne. Reporter Taryn Luna of The Boston Globe recently profiled DRINKmaple, which is based in Concord, Mass., and also made the obligatory coconut water mention.

“Businesses — from forest investment firms to fledgling startups — saw coconut water explode into a $150 million a year phenomena. They’re banking on maple water as the next big thing,” Luna writes.

Kate Weiler and Jeff Rose, the founders of DRINKmaple, learned about maple water in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, where they raced in a triathlon last August. They were drawn by the taste, the idea of a beverage not made in a lab and the sustainability, which preserves the tapped trees.

At Coachella, an annual music festival in California’s Coachella Valley, those flower-crowned, corporate-sponsored kidz have a different use for trees. But let’s discuss another kind of green, as in, juice.

Companies such as Evolution Fresh and Moon Juice wisely built booths at the festival, positioning themselves next to the trust-fund youngsters, who hope to quench their thirst and swipe dad’s credit card in a trendy way.

“Since opening today [April 18], there have been hoards of desert bounders coming in with coolers to load up on juices, moon milks, our cosmic provisions and moon tonics…sustenance for the long, hot days and late nights of the festival,” Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon told Well+Good. “We’ve created a little oasis of wellness in the desert.”

Reporter’s note: Something tells me that if you were to walk enough miles from that oasis, and you were to reach the most unmerciful strip of that desert, you’d find Donald Sterling, Corona-less and alone.