Long Island Iced Tea Company today announced the purchase of brand and trademark rights for Florida aloe vera beverage brand ALO Juice for 5,000 shares of common stock. The acquisition paves the way for Long Island Iced Tea to expand its presence in the Southeast, a high priority market for the company, according to CEO Phil Thomas.
ALO Juice markets a range of functional beverages made from aloe vera that are imported from Korea. The products have been distributed in New York City since 2008 and are also sold in Florida. The move comes as the market for aloe-based drinks continues to expand. In a press release announcing the acquisition, Long Island Iced Tea cited recent data sourced from SPINS, a Chicago-based market research firm, which found that U.S. sales of aloe beverages grew 11 percent in the past year to $146 million.
The acquisition is the first ever for Hicksville, N.Y.-based Long Island Iced Tea, makers of non-alcoholic premium ready-to-drink iced tea. The company has sold nearly $1 million of ALO Juice since it began distributing the brand in February, 2016.
In an interview with BevNET, Thomas said the company saw ALO Juice as a two-fold opportunity to enter the growing functional beverage market and acquire a brand with a strong established presence in the Southeast.
“Being able to take advantage of the infrastructure that’s already in place in the southeast is tremendous for us, as is Incorporating another brand that is very similar to ours in the better-for-you category,” Thomas said. “As we present to buyers and new retailers, having the power of multiple brands we feel will prove to be extremely beneficial as we go to market.”
Thomas added that the region’s warm climate and demographics were motivating factors for building Long Island’s presence in the Southeast.
“There’s great weather all year round, and there are a ton of transients from New York that can relate with the Long Island brand name,” Thomas explained.
In recent months, the company has been aggressively expanding its footprint in the region: In September, Long Island announced partnerships with Food Lion, a grocery chain with over 1,000 Southeast locations, and Empire Distribution, Inc., which services over 8,000 accounts across Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Thomas said the acquisition will allow Long Island to integrate ALO Juice into its existing distribution networks in the Northeast, and vice-versa in the Southeast.
As part of the acquisition, Long Island will take on ALO Juice’s sales team and distribution infrastructure in the region.
Thomas also indicated that a aloe-based tea was in early development stages, and could potentially be released through either the Long Island or ALO Juice brand.