First Bev and Manna Tree Lead Investor Group and Appoint Jack Belsito as CEO
Health-Ade, a sales leader and pioneer in kombucha beverages, today announced that longstanding partner First Bev has acquired a controlling stake in the company. The deal is also backed by powerhouse investors including Manna Tree, a Vail, Colorado-based investment firm committed to improving human health through nutrition. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Daina Trout, who co-founded Health-Ade in 2012 with Justin Trout and Vanessa Dew, has taken on the new role of Chief Mission Officer and will work in partnership with Jack Belsito, Managing Partner of First Bev, who will assume the role of CEO. Daina and Jack will be working to cultivate further growth for the fast-growing business, capitalizing on increasing consumer demand for gut-healthy products and expansion opportunities in retail accounts domestically and internationally.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Health-Ade to have someone with Jack’s experience and credentials step into the CEO role and to be able to continue to focus my passion and energy in a new way on the opportunities that lie ahead for Health-Ade,” said Daina Trout. “First Bev has been an amazing partner since the beginning, providing not just capital, but expertise and resources through every crucial growth phase of the company. We have the highest of expectations for what we can accomplish together as we enter into this transformative phase of growth for Health-Ade. We also want to thank CAVU Venture Partners who was one of our early investors for supporting us through this journey as they will be selling shares as part of this control transaction.”
Under the leadership of its three founders, Health-Ade quickly evolved from selling its flagship kombucha in the Los Angeles farmers’ markets into one of the top-selling kombucha beverage brands with retail sales over $200M annually.Today, Health-Ade can be found in over 45,000 stores nationwide. Health-Ade’s award-winning products include the original Health-Ade Kombucha line, recently launched Pop prebiotic soda, Health-Ade Plus, a kombucha line featuring adaptogenic ingredients to fit different mood states, and Health-Ade Cocktail Mixers, a delicious, just-add-spirit, cold-pressed mixer line. Already in 2021, Health-Ade has launched a multimillion-dollar education campaign aimed at disseminating information about gut-health and kombucha in an entertaining, easy to digest format.
“It is an extremely exciting time in the marketplace for Health-Ade,” said Jack Belsito, whose 35-year beverage industry career includes prior roles as CEO of Voss Water, CEO of Snapple and as a senior executive at Cadbury Schweppes. “Our vision is for Health-Ade to become the global leader in kombucha and digestive health beverages, one gut at a time.”
“As consumers become more educated about the importance of gut health to overall health, functional beverages with real efficacy will assume a much more prominent position in the global diet,” explained Ross Iverson, Co-Founder & CIO of Manna Tree. “With the continuing expansion of its offerings, Health-Ade is positioned to become the category leader in its space. Manna Tree will tap into our international distribution relationships and other resources as we work alongside management and First Bev to help to elevate Health-Ade to the next level of growth.”
Health-Ade creates feel-good, bubbly beverages with gut-health benefits so you can follow your gut and show the world what you’re made of. The brand got started in the Brentwood Farmer’s Market in 2012 selling its flagship kombucha drinks. Instantly gaining a cult following in Southern California, Health-Ade Kombucha rapidly expanded to sell nationwide in over 45,000 stores including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Safeway / Albertsons, Kroger, Publix, Target and more in 16oz single serve bottles (MSRP: $3.99) and 48oz sizes at (MSRP: $8.99). The brand’s growing roster of offerings now includes Health-Ade Pop, a low sugar prebiotic soda, Health-Ade Plus, an adaptogenic kombucha line, and Health-Ade Cocktail Mixers, designed for a low sugar, mixologist-quality cocktail solution at home. All Health-Ade products are naturally fermented with high quality ingredients and are certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan, and each bottle of Health-Ade Kombucha exceeds the World Health Organization’s standard for probiotics, which many food and beverage products on the market today fail to meet. For more information, please visit www.health-ade.com.
ABOUT FIRST BEV
First Bev invests in innovative and transformational beverage brands, helping beverage companies grow and stand out in a dynamic and competitive industry. We form true partnerships with our portfolio companies and their leaders by leveraging our financial and intellectual capital, bringing deep domain expertise in the beverage industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, the First Bev team is made up of beverage executives and entrepreneurs as well as seasoned investment professionals with decades of collective industry experience. For more information, please visit www.firstbev.com.
ABOUT MANNA TREE
Manna Tree is a Vail, Colorado-based investment firm committed to improving human health through nutrition. The firm invests in and actively partners with growth-stage companies. Manna Tree believes the future of health, well-being and longevity is attainable through innovation in food. Manna Tree has made eight investments to date: The New Primal, Urban Remedy, Evolve Biosystems, Gotham Greens, Verde Farms, Nutriati, Vital Farms, and MycoTechnology. www.mannatreepartners.com.