For over 50 years, Hensley Beverage Company didn’t carry any non-alcoholic beverages in its portfolio and managed to get by just fine. The Arizona-based distribution house, founded in 1955, built its operations — which currently extend to six facilities across the state totaling over 800,000 sq. ft. of combined space and over 1,000 full-time workers — largely on the back of a longstanding agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB) to carry its products exclusively. That partnership ended, however, in 2008, when a combination of factors — a decrease in construction and real estate development caused by the national economic downturn, along with strong anti-immigration sentiment within the state that caused some recent foreign arrivals to move elsewhere — began to negatively affect beer sales, according to the distributor, and compelled it to make a change.
First Beverage Ventures, the private equity arm of beverage advisory and investment firm First Beverage Group, today announced its investment in Colorado-based distiller Laws Whiskey House, making it the second spirits brand to join the FBG portfolio. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Molson Coors today announced the acquisition of California-based Clearly Kombucha, marking the multinational brewing company’s first purchase of a non-alcoholic beverage brand. The deal was led by TAP Ventures, a division within Molson Coors’ enterprise growth unit that launched last year and is tasked with identifying investment opportunities outside of the traditional beer segment.
Since signing up its first four craft breweries about a year ago, Night Shift Distributing has inked agreements with 14 new brewery partners and expanded its reach into non-alcoholic beverages, wine and spirits. The Massachusetts-based company today announced distribution partnerships with seven new companies, including a cold brew coffee maker, an organic plant-based water producer and a variety of other brands.
After spending 12 months preparing for his formal transition from president to CEO of Columbia Distributing, Chris Steffanci isn’t wasting any time making his mark. In his two months at the helm since taking the role in January, following the announcement of CEO Gregg Christiansen’s retirement in March 2016, Steffanci has overseen a period of rapid growth at Columbia, already one of the largest beverage wholesalers in the U.S.