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Anheuser-Busch to acquire Hiball

BY David Salazar

ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch is bringing an organic energy drink and sparkling energy water maker into its brand portfolio, expanding its reach in the no-alcohol sector. The company is acquiring San Francisco-based Hiball, maker of the Hiball Energy and Alta Palla brands.

The company said that energy and sparkling water categories are two of the fastest growing categories in the beverage industry, and that Hiball’s brands would benefit from Anheuser-Busch’s wholesaler network and operational expertise.

Hiball was founded in 2005 by president Todd Berardi, who began selling his products out of the back of his car. The team has now grown to 20 people, including Hiball creative director and designer Alyssa Wanock (who is Berardi’s wife) and Dan Craytor, VP business development.

Hiball has positioned its brand as pioneers in the natural, organic energy drink category. Its products target such trends in the beverage space as health and wellness, aspirational brands, energy-boosting products and natural and sustainably sourced ingredients, the company said.

“Todd, Alyssa, Dan and the entire Hiball team have created an incredible business, developing some of the fastest-growing brands in the beverage industry and giving their loyal consumers the choices they love," Anheuser-Busch president and CEO João Castro Neves said. "We are very happy to partner with these three entrepreneurs and invest to help them achieve their dreams."

Under the acquisition, whose terms were not disclosed, Berardi, Wanock and Craytor will continue to lead and manage the business.

“This deal is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for me and my team, and I can't wait to get started,” Berardi said. “Together with Anheuser-Busch, we will be able to bring our delicious, refreshing and organic/fair-trade products to more consumers in more places, growing our brands and our share of the energy and sparkling markets. When I founded this company, I had a single goal of delivering the very best organic, natural products to like-minded consumers. I am excited to join the Anheuser-Busch team so we can share our products with more consumers and give our team even more opportunities to grow.”

Anheuser-Busch said it was planning a phased transition of the Hiball brands into its wholesaler partners. The company plans to help expand Hiball’s consumer base while preserving its distinctive culture, it said.

“Hiball Energy and Alta Palla are great additions to our developing no-alcohol portfolio, and we have been asking A-B for a partnership opportunity just like this,” Anheuser Busch wholesaler advisory panel chairman David Stokes said. “Adding these outstanding brands to our wholesaler system increases the breadth of our product portfolio and strengthens our network as we offer more innovation to our customers."

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PepsiCo names new president, shuffles 2 more execs

BY David Salazar
PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo on Thursday announced three senior leadership appointments, including naming a new president. Ramon Laguarta, currently CEO of PepsiCo’s Europe Sub-Saharan Africa, or ESSA, segment, will assume the position of president, effective Sept. 1.
 
Additionally, current CEO Latin America, or LATAM, Laxman Narasimhan will become CEO LATAM and ESSA, and current president of Russia, Ukraine and CIS Silviu Popovici will be president ESSA, both effective Sept. 1.
 
“PepsiCo has consistently delivered top-tier financial performance while simultaneously making investments that position the company for sustainable long-term growth,” PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said. "Our ability to perform while we transform is a testament to our people. All across the business, from our front-line associates to our senior executives, PepsiCo is home to the very best talent in the industry. We have built a strong bench of senior executives, and these leadership appointments will further enhance our efforts to create shareholder value and propel our company forward."
 
Laguarta has been with PepsiCo for more than 20 years, most recently leading the company’s transformation of its European product portfolio and improving its position in key growth markets, the company said. Before leading ESSA, he was PepsiCo Europe’s president of developing and emerging markets. In his new role, he will shape the company’s corporate strategy and work with business units to deliver growth, drive productivity and invest in innovation. He also will oversee PepsiCo’s global category groups, the PepsiCo Foundation and the company’s global operations, corporate strategy and public policy and government affairs functions. 
 
Narasimham joined PepsiCo from McKinsey & Co. in 2012 after nearly 20 years in various positions, including senior partner and co-leader of the Global Consumer and Shopper Insights practice. During his time at PepsiCo he has held several senior leadership positions. As LATAM CEO has navigated volatility in the sector, strengthened franchise bottler relationships and built relationships with governments and organizations to help the segment further its sustainability agenda. 
 
Popovici has led the Russian and Eastern European division through volatility while capitalizing on growth opportunities, the company said. He was previously president of PepsiCo Russia. Before joining PepsiCo, he held several general management positions with the Coca-Cola system in Eastern Europe. 
 
"Ramon, Laxman and Silviu are highly respected executives with long track records of delivering strong results throughout their careers," Nooyi said. "These moves continue our longstanding practice of elevating great leaders within PepsiCo and allowing them to apply their capabilities in new ways that support our strategies for growth. We have an incredibly strong executive team in place, and I have no doubt that our next generation of talent will lift our company to even greater heights in the years ahead."
 

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Budweiser rolls out packaging celebrating 11 states

BY David Salazar

NEW YORK — Budweiser drinkers in 11 states will get to see their home state’s name, motto and nicknames on their beer cans and bottles through the end of September. Budweiser has begun its rollout of packaging celebrating the states its breweries are housed in.

"Our new state bottles and cans celebrate the homes of our breweries and the communities that support them," Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques said. “Since 1876, Budweiser has been proudly brewed across America, and this summer, we're inviting local consumers to raise a cold one with us."

From now through September, the packaging on bottles and cans in these states will highlight California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. The Budweiser name on the cans and bottles will be replaced with the state name, the center AB monogram will be replaced with stat initials, the “King of Beers” motto will be replaced with each state’s motto and “Anheuser-Busch Inc.” will be replaced with each state’s nickname.

Additionally, the company will be hosting brewery open houses, airing unique radio spots in each market and present the first Budland festival in Los Angeles.

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