Dunn’s River Brands Acquires Majority Interest in Temple Turmeric

Texas-based beverage portfolio management company Dunn’s River Brands has acquired a majority interest in elixir and wellness shot maker Temple Turmeric, closing a deal Tuesday for an undisclosed sum.

Temple Turmeric founder Daniel Sullivan will step down as CEO but remain with the company as Chief Innovation Officer. Dunn’s River Brands co-founder and managing partner Ian Knowles will serve as President and will work with Sullivan to oversee the brand.

“We were looking for new approaches to product development and Dunn’s River Brands can really bring the strategic resources on the human and capital resource side to really execute on those plans,” Sullivan told BevNET. “Their shared resource model really gives Temple that competitive advantage because we’ve got collective scales of multiple brands.”

The deal is the second acquisition by Dunn’s River Brands, a portfolio company formed in partnership with private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, following its purchase of the Tradewinds Tea and Sweet Leaf Tea brands from Nestlé Waters North America last December.

According to Knowles, Dunn’s River is seeking to build a portfolio of better-for-you and functional beverages and the growing “food as medicine” movement motivated the company to explore Temple Turmeric.

“Our model is a shared resource model so we look to bring strategic advantages to brands they couldn’t otherwise get in a traditional private equity or venture group,” Knowles said. “So when we looked at Temple we looked to the distribution we have right now, whether broadline or DSD, to identify paths for incremental distribution that can benefit all of our brands. That’s something that’s really important to the growth of Temple but it’s also a part of our overall strategy.”

Sullivan said Temple Turmeric is currently focusing on building brand awareness and marketing efforts, in particular working to expand the brand’s reach among professional sports accounts. Earlier this year, the company inked a sales agreement with the 2018 NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles, with the team purchasing the company’s turmeric shots throughout the 2017-2018 season up to the Super Bowl. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric have made the brand popular with athletes and team doctors, Sullivan said, especially for use as a post-injury recovery drink.

“[Dunn’s] has a management advisory team with experience across all aspects of beverage brand building and specifically one of the places we’re really excited to engage is on the marketing side with some of the senior level executives they have in marketing to really leverage the consumer awareness around inflammation management consumer needs,” he said. “We really feel this has as much potential as probiotic in beverage.”

Sullivan added that the company’s shots are its fastest growing line and there is potential to expand it in the near future.

Temple Turmeric also recently returned its original packaging and branding design, reversing a brief rebrand that introduced taller 12 oz. bottles for its core line. According to Sullivan, production issues with the new format led to the reversal.

“When you look at the beverage product you want, the product is only a good as the quality of the ingredients and I think we can all firmly say that when you dig into the supply chain that Daniel has put together for Temple, there’s no compromise in the quality,” Knowles said. “We look forward to building on that.”

Whipstitch Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor to Temple Turmeric.