First Bev acquires controlling stake of Health-Ade and names new CEO

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Health-Ade
Photo Credit: Health-Ade

Related tags: kombucha, Health-Ade

First Bev has acquired a controlling stake in kombucha brand Health-Ade with additional investment from Manna Tree and Vail. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Daina Trout - who co-founded Health-Ade in 2012 with Justin Trout and Vanessa Dew - has become chief mission officer. Jack Belsito, managing partner of First Bev, will assume the role of CEO of Health-Ade.

"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 transaction."

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, said: "It is an extremely exciting time in the marketplace for Health-Ade. Our vision is for Health-Ade to become the global leader in kombucha and digestive health beverages, one gut at a time."

Trout and Belsito will work together to further the growth of the fast-growing company -- which achieved annual retail sales of over $200m last year and distribution in over 45,000 stores -- by capitalizing on increasing consumer demand for gut-healthy products and expansion opportunities in retail accounts domestically and internationally. 

"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,"​ added 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."

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