Manna Capital Partners, an investment firm co-founded by Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling owner Ulysses L. “Junior” Bridgeman, announced plans this week for a $600 million “advanced beverage production and distribution complex” in Montgomery, Alabama. The 180-acre site will include a 1.7 million-square-foot production plant for alcoholic and non-alcoholic products, according to an announcement by the state. Production will begin in 2025. The complex will include distribution operations. “Our goal is to be the leading total beverage supply chain company in North America while operating with the highest quality, sustainable capabilities needed to produce beverages for world-class brand owners,” Bridgeman said in the statement, adding that the project “fills the gap for major brands who want to be asset light, nimble and make a difference in their communities by hiring minority and women-owned businesses.” BD notes that the news comes as Coca-Cola pushes further into the US alcohol market through licenses with beer companies for spiked versions of brands such as Simply, Fresca, and Coca-Cola (with Jack Daniels). So far, Coca-Cola bottlers have had little room to get involved with such efforts. Presumably, Bridgeman’s ability to co-pack and perhaps distribute alcoholic beverages could create the scale needed to pursue more creative approaches, perhaps even with Coca-Cola’s alcohol offshoots.
Coca-Cola has signed on with Monumental Sports & Entertainment as the exclusive soft drink partner for Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., home for the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. The account is currently held by PepsiCo. Meanwhile, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling has signed a long-term beverage partnership agreement with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and its home arena, the Honda Center. And the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights organization has signed a multi-year beverage partnership with Ghost Energy that makes the brand the team’s official energy drink. The ready-to-drink version of Ghost, a Bang Energy challenger, was created in a JV with Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Kroger agreed to acquire Albertsons in a deal worth $24.6 billion that would combine the two largest US supermarket chains. Industry watchers expect the deal to draw scrutiny from antitrust regulators. BD observes that the combined chain’s scale would give the retailers increased leverage when negotiating with food and beverage suppliers including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper.
Primo Water has acquired Crystal Spring Water in Rhode Island, which also serves Southeastern Massachusetts. The deal adds 2,500 customers to Primo’s North America division.
CBD products maker Charlotte’s Web has become the official CBD of Major League Baseball. MLB is the first professional sports league to sign a sponsorship deal with a CBD company. Charlotte’s Web makes oils, gummies, and other CBD products for people and animals. They do not offer a ready-to-drink beverage
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