Bolthouse Farms secured Starbucks shelf space across the country by acquiring a cold-pressed juice maker from Rancho Cucamonga.
The Bakersfield-based carrot and juice maker announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the 283-employee Evolution Fresh brand and business from the Seattle-based coffee retailer. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This acquisition, the second since Bolthouse was sold about three years ago to a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, does not necessarily mean that its other products will be available at Starbucks locations. But the carrot company doesn’t rule out the possibility as it works to close the deal in the third quarter and integrate Evolution Fresh into its operations.
Founded in 1995 and acquired by Starbucks 16 years later, Evolution Fresh sells mostly organic products ranging from citrus and apple juices to watermelon, cucumber and celery drinks. Using a cold-pressed process—hydraulic pressure instead of centrifugal juicers or other pasteurization methods—retains relatively high levels of nutrients.
Bolthouse’s Chief Account Officer Phil Kooy said the purchase complements the carrot maker’s line of juices, smoothies and protein drinks, which are sold in grocery stores across the country and are ranked #1 in the country in the super-premium chilled drinks category.
Coy said the acquisition of Evolution Fresh, one of the fastest growing brands in the rapidly expanding cold-pressed juice segment, provides an opportunity to use Bolthouse’s vast acreage to grow ingredients and fresh produce. He mentioned future synergies when using citrus and other fruit blends, as well as beverage blends with cabbage and other vegetables.
“We feel we have an amazing opportunity to take the (Evolution Fresh) brand to the next level, and with Bolthouse Farm’s significant experience and success in the juice category, this will really enable us to develop Evolution Fresh in the future,” said Coy. .
In a press release, Bolthouse Chairman and CEO Jeff Dunn described the acquisition as a natural extension of his Butterly Equity portfolio.
“At Bolthouse Farms, with the support of Butterfly, we are committed to ensuring that the acreage we grow and the drinks we produce have a positive impact on the land, on the people who make up our company, and on all people,” he said.
In the same episode, Starbucks executive vice president of global channel development Hans Melotte said that the fact that Bolthouse shares the coffee company’s values and commitment to putting people first confirms that Evolution Fresh will have a good home.
“Over the past few years, Evolution Fresh has grown steadily as a result of the hard work of our partners and brand commitment,” he said. “We believe we have a great opportunity to take Evolution Fresh to the next level, and Bolthouse Farms’ significant experience and success in the premium beverage category will see the brand continue to grow.”
Bolthouse plans to keep the Evolution Fresh name due to the strength and visibility of its brand. Coy said the local company has no plans to mix the two product lines as it explores ways to work together on innovation and continuous improvement.
And who knows? Perhaps Starbucks will give Bolthouse some shelf space given the volume the coffee retailer is already doing with Evolution Fresh, Coy added.
Bolthouse employs 2,400 people. He grows primarily in California, but also grows on farms in Arizona, Georgia, and Washington, sourcing ingredients from all over the world. Its headquarters is still at 7200 E. Brundage Lane.