SAN JOSE, Calif. (May 20, 2019)--PRESS RELEASE--Caliva, one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in California, has announced that it acquired Zola, the maker of plant-powered beverages, to expand into the cannabis and hemp-based CBD (hCBD) beverage space.
Caliva has quickly become a market leader in cannabis consumer products in California, which represents more than 35 percent of the overall United States legal cannabis market. With over 500 dispensaries in California, the deal provides Caliva the unique opportunity to dominate sales of both cannabis and hCBD beverages in one of the largest cannabis markets worldwide. It also positions Caliva to capitalize on a nationwide roll out of infused beverages.
Zola is a manufacturer of plant-powered beverages that was founded by Chris Cuvelier and acquired by consumer-focused private equity firm KarpReilly in 2016. Zola is a long-established player in the functional beverage industry that is known for sourcing the best plant-powered ingredients, and combining them into great tasting, better-for-you beverages.
The interest in hCBD products has been supercharged since the passage of the 2018 U. S. Farm Bill which legalized hemp and hemp-derived CBD products nationwide. The beverage industry is worth $210 billion in the U.S. alone, and retailers and traditional beverage makers believe that cannabis-infused drinks will not only create a new category, but disrupt established players. Combined, the infused beverage category could drive $2.5 billion in enterprise value over the next two years.
"Consumers are looking for trusted CBD solutions in their beverages,” said Dennis O'Malley, CEO of Caliva. “We couldn't be more excited to team up with Zola and Chris to bring Caliva CBD beverages to a supermarket near you."
Currently, Zola’s portfolio of popular plant-based beverages is available in over 7,000 retail locations nationwide, including conventional grocery stores, natural foods and specialty markets, and quick serve restaurants. In addition to a strong, established distribution channel, Zola has over 16-years of experience in the highly fragmented and trendy beverage market. Zola’s CEO, Chris Cuvelier, will oversee and execute beverage initiatives at Caliva to go from concept to shelf quickly.
“We believe hemp-based CBD is the ultimate plant based ingredient and that beverages offer a unique way to deliver the many health and wellness benefits of CBD,” said Cuvelier. “I am excited to leverage Caliva’s expertise, consumer insights and technology to create a portfolio of delicious and functional hemp based CBD beverages.”
Caliva is exploring entering the infused beverage market in several categories, including sparkling water, functional shots, functional powders, teas, cold brew coffee and sports drinks. Zola’s key relationships with distributors, ranging from regional to national, will enable fast rollout of hCBD beverages to targeted markets.
“Chris has been a great leader at Zola and we are thankful to have been a part of the journey,” said Allan Karp, co-founder of KarpReilly. “We couldn’t be more excited about this outcome and how Chris has evolved the brand – we feel confident that Zola found a great parent company in Caliva to help take the company to the next level.”