PepsiCo has signed a letter of intent to purchase independent Pepsi bottler Bridge 2 Bridge Beverages, based in Bremerton, Washington west of Seattle. The acquisition of the 73-year-old, third-generation bottler is expected to close by the end of this year. Terms were not disclosed. The operation’s 70 employees will become part of PepsiCo Beverages North America’s West Division. Bridge 2 Bridge is part of the Pepsi Northwest Beverages bottling co-op based in Tumwater, Washington, south of Seattle near Olympia. PepsiCo confirmed the agreement in a statement to BD, calling Bridge 2 Bridge “a unique, strategic investment to strengthen our bottling structure in the Pacific Northwest.”
Background. Bridge 2 Bridge, which changed its name in 2017 from Bremerton Bottling, was purchased in 1944 by Lee Aughnay and Paul Glaser. Aughnay’s son, Phil Aughnay, became president in 1973. Phil Aughnay’s daughter, Carole Aughnay, became president in 1995 and still holds the title, according to the company’s website. The business also is run by CEO Phil Isle, who joined two years ago from independent Pepsi bottler Nackard Companies, where he was COO.
Perspective. Unlike Coca-Cola, PepsiCo has held firm on its desire to retain ownership of most of its US Pepsi bottling and distribution system. As shown in the table below, PepsiCo-controlled bottling assets accounted for 76% of the Pepsi system’s US bottle/can volume. Nine independent bottlers controlled another 14.3%. The balance, less than 10%, was held by more than 70 small independent bottlers. As third-generation bottlers mature or move into the fourth generation, more of those businesses could look to sell, presenting additional buying opportunities for PepsiCo.
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