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RTD Cold Brew Maker High Brew Acquired by Beliv

High Brew Beliv

Austin, Texas-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cold brew beverage company High Brew Coffee has been acquired by Central American multinational beverage company Beliv.

In an announcement yesterday, Beliv said it bought a 78% stake in High Brew. The remaining 22% is held by High Brew Founder David Smith, who is joining Beliv as a consultant.

Additional financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Beliv was founded by Florida-based Argentine entrepreneur Carlos Sluman in 2009 with a focus on bottled and canned nectars, juices and functional beverages. The company, which operates in more than 30 countries, is now part of the Latin America-focused conglomerate Grupo Mariposa.

With the acquisition, High Brew joins Beliv’s portfolio of more than 40 food-and-beverage brands.

High Brew was one of the first United States brands to capitalize on the growing cold brew trend of the 2010s by bringing RTD cold brew drinks to grocery and convenience store aisles.

High Brew Coffee

A High Brew Coffee can.

Smith founded High Brew Coffee in 2013 after selling a majority share of the Sweet Leaf Tea, which he co-founded with Clayton Christopher in 1998, to Nestlé in 2011.

In 2016, High Brew was boosted by a $4 million investment from CAVU Venture Partners plus a distribution deal with Dr Pepper Snapple Group. This was followed in 2017 by an approximately $17 million Series B haul led by Colorado-based growth equity fund Boulder Investment Group Reprise (BIGR). In 2018 came another $20 million investment led by Charles Street Partners and several celebrity investors.

“The entrepreneurial spirit is our point of connection, and we have a strong desire to build together our growth in the United States, which is one of the strategic markets for the expansion of Beliv’s business,” Beliv’s Sluman said in yesterday’s announcement. “With High Brew we are adding a disruptive product in a booming category, through its distribution to 15,000 sale points in the US and the collaboration with 54 strategic partners.”

The Beliv/High Brew deal comes just a week after beverage giant Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) announced a $300 million investment in Philadelphia-based coffee company La Colombe Coffee Roasters, maker of a widely distributed line of canned RTD lattes.

The deal is also reminiscent of another cold brew acquisition with Austin roots. Chameleon Cold Brew, whose products can often be spotted next to High Brew cans at grocery stores, was acquired by Nestlé in 2017. Nestlé sold the brand to SYSTM Foods for an undisclosed amount last year.

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