Anheuser-Busch to acquire Hiball
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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Budweiser rolls out packaging celebrating 11 states
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.