LA Aloe, producer of organic beverage Aloe Gloe, got a boost earlier this month when the Venturing & Emerging Brands unit of Coca-Cola Co. bought a minority stake in the Arcadia company.
“It gave us the resources to execute our long-term business plan,” said Dino Sarti, LA Aloe’s chief executive.
Sarti declined to say how much Coca-Cola invested, but said he considers the stake “significant.”
Aloe Gloe, which bottles its beverage in Corona, is already available in 20,000 stores across the country and had a two-year growth rate of 64 percent, according to the company. It comes in four aloe vera-based flavors, including crisp aloe, white grape, lemonade, and coconut.
Sarti said the company wants to grow market by market.
“We’ll establish it on the East and West coasts, and then move to the middle,” he said.
Venturing & Emerging Brands focuses on cultivating brands with billion-dollar potential. Its other drinks include Zico Coconut Water, Honest Tea, and Hansen’s Natural soda.
“Our minority investment in Aloe Gloe gives VEB a further entry in the emerging market segment for plant-based beverages,” Scott Uzzell, president of Venturing & Emerging Brands, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with Aloe Gloe to help them capture growth from this exciting consumer trend.”
Despite looking to dominate the market for its healthy drink, Sarti said he wouldn’t mind having a competitor.
“I was a veteran of the coconut wars,” he said. “I don’t think Zico could be as big without Vita Coco. They had to create a craze. With one company, it could be really hard to do that.”
Sarti and his partners, Daniel Stepper and Patrick Bolden, met while working for Coke. They started L.A. Libations in 2009, another beverage company that Coca-Cola also invested in two years ago. L.A. Libations “incubated” several of VEB’s products, including Zico Coconut Water. Aloe Gloe was the first brand created by L.A. Libations and was later spun off as its own company.
In the future, Sarti wants to experiment with different package sizes and making Aloe Gloe a fountain drink. The company is considering a capital round at the end of the year, he said.
– Caroline Anderson
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