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ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch (A-B) is deepening its investment in the nonalcoholic beverage sector through the acquisitions of Hiball, maker of Hiball organic energy drinks and sparkling energy waters, as well as the Alta Palla brand of organic sparkling juices and sparkling water.
The energy and sparkling water categories are two of the fastest-growing beverage categories, A-B said, and Hiball's signature brands will benefit from its brand-building experience, wholesaler network and operational expertise.
Hiball's energy drinks and sparkling energy waters are made with a proprietary, organic-certified energy blend that consists of caffeine, guarana and ginseng. Its products target some of the most important trends in the beverage space today, including health and wellness, natural and sustainably-sourced ingredients, energy-boosting products, and attractive, aspirational brands, according to the company.
Hiball was formed in 2005 when Todd Berardi, founder and president, began selling its signature energy drinks from the back of his car. Today, the San Francisco-based company has 20 employees.
"The combination of Hiball's category-leading organic energy drinks and Alta Palla's organic sparkling juices and sparkling waters together with our network and operational know-how will create tremendous growth opportunities for these brands," said A-B President and CEO João Castro Neves.
"There are some key similarities between our companies including our desire to dream big, our passion for our people and our products, and our commitment to quality and sustainability in everything we do. Our goal is to deliver Hiball products to new markets, while preserving their culture and brand identities. Hiball's motto is 'It's all good,' and we couldn't agree more," the executive added.
Following the acquisition, Hiball will continue to be led and managed by Berardi; his wife Alyssa Warnock, Hiball's creative director and designer; and Dan Craytor, vice president of business development.
"We are thrilled to partner with a company that shares our vision for where we can take Hiball Energy and Alta Palla in the future, and brings real passion and dedication to their work every day," Berardi said. "This deal is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for me and my team, and I can't wait to get started.
"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," he added. "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."
A-B is planning a phased transition of the Hiball Energy and Alta Palla brands to its wholesaler partners.
"We are thrilled to partner with Todd and the rest of the Hiball team. 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," said David Stokes, chairman of the Anheuser-Busch Wholesaler Advisory Panel. "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."
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 21 local breweries, 21 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States. It is best known for its American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light.