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Activate Heads Into Coast Brands Network To Books C-Store Coverage; Possible ‘Anchor’ Brand?

Beverage Business INSIGHTS:

Activate and its early investors at First Beverage Group present themselves as savvy operators long familiar with nuts and bolts of building distribution. That makes brand’s move into Coast Brands Group network significant endorsement of intriguing idea, which weaves together established distributors into net that promises in-depth retail coverage throughout West Coast states and beyond. Both Activate and First Beverage confirmed move, initially for convenience-and-gas and indie stores on West Coast, with discussions proceeding about subsequent move into Southwest and Southeast regions being assembled by Coast. “Great brand with a great future,” Coast founder Bob Groux said of newest client. “It proves we’re even a value for them, even though they’ve got their own people” and count Southern Calif as core territory. To date Coast’s clients either have been publicly traded brands Celsius and New Leaf, with pressure to boost topline quickly in order to bring in new resources, or smaller plays like Oh Yeah and Her. By contrast, Activate isn’t lacking for resources on heels of big investment by India’s Tata and has been adhering to deliberate growth strategy. Recall that First Beverage was launched by beer-distribution vet Bill Anderson, abetted operationally by former Columbia Distributing gm Joth Ricci, and its Activate unit is run by distribution vet Dan Holland as prexy. “I believe Bob has a good foundation of people and a real good go-to-market model,” Dan told BBI. “I believe Activate can be a huge ‘anchor’ brand for Coast and a possible further relationship with Coast is a strong possibility.”