By Jeffrey Klineman
After getting rave reviews at the December BevNET Live event – taking home the award during the New Product Showdown — Coco Café had to imagine that it would be getting a lot of attention and some new accounts.
But apparently things have really accelerated for the Los Angeles-based espresso/coconut water blend, as Vita Coco, the country’s best selling coconut water brand, has swooped in to make an investment in Coco Café.
According to Vita Coco CEO Michael Kirban, the new product will be able to employ some of Vita Coco’s production and distribution routes, while also offering the first generation company a counterpoint to rival Zico’s well-received Chocolate variety.
More to come, but the release is below.
Cuckoo for Coconuts… and Coffee
Vita Coco invests in Southern California beverage start-up
Best selling coconut water company takes stake in new coconut water coffee drink: Coco Café
February 2, 2012 – New York, NY – Vita Coco, the nation’s largest coconut water brand, has made an investment in a California-based beverage start-up called Coco Café, which produces a ready-to-drink beverage of fresh coconut water and organic, fair-trade espresso with milk. The announcement was confirmed today by Vita Coco co-founder and ceo Michael Kirban.
Vita Coco, launched in 2004, is one of the fastest growing independent beverage brands in the U.S. The brand sells seven flavors of coconut water at over 35,000 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Walmart, Costco and Amazon.com.
Coco Café, started by friends Brian McCaslin and Elan Eifer on the beaches of Santa Monica, California in 2011 has, according to Kirban, “enormous potential to be the next breakout beverage brand. Coco Cafe adds a new layer of coconut water-fueled functionality to the coffee category and expands the appeal of coconut water for all beverage consumers.”
“I see a lot of myself in these two entrepreneurs: they have a simple concept based on great taste and authenticity, with huge potential to broaden the category,” continues Kirban.
Kirban should know: just eight years ago Vita Coco was itself a two man (Kirban and co-founder Ira Liran) start-up in Brooklyn, New York. Today, the Vita Coco brand is the national sales leader of fresh coconut water, arguably the hottest beverage category of the past two years that has already seen acquisitions made by, and new coconut water products developed by, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Coco Café co-founder Brian McCaslin says “Vita Coco was our inspiration when we started the Coco Café brand. It’s a great compliment that Mike took early notice of our efforts and an even greater compliment that we can now call Mike and his team our partners.” McCaslin and Eifer will be able to leverage the best of Vita Coco’s production and distribution networks and marketing expertise to grow the Coco Café brand.
Concludes Kirban: “Coco Café will have an impact not just on the coconut water category, but also in ready to drink coffee. This brand is one to watch.”
About Vita Coco
Vita Coco® is the brand that started America’s craze for fresh coconut water. Informed consumers, pro-athletes, yogis and nutritionists as well as in-the-know celebrities and influencers have all become quick and loyal fans of coconut water, swearing by the Vita Coco brand for its delicious flavor, hydrating properties and replenishment benefits. Award-winning Vita Coco, which counts Madonna amongst its investors, is one of the most sought-after products in the beverage aisle. Visit www.vitacoco.com for more details.