Kirin Holdings, a Japanese-based global beverage company with annual sales of $25 billion, has invested in U.S.-based Nawgan Products LLC, the maker of functional brain health beverage Nawgan. The investment represents Kirin Holdings’ minority interest in Nawgan Products LLC and will fund the brand’s growth initiative plans throughout North America.

"It is our great honor to be part of this opportunity and be able to provide a new value for the ever-evolving health drink market in the United States through profoundly unique Nawgan products," said Senji Miyake, president and chief executive officer of Kirin Holdings, in a statement.

"We at Nawgan are thrilled that Kirin has elected to partner with us, not simply because Kirin is such a strong beverage company, but because of the company's remarkable expertise in formulation, research and development," said Robert Paul, board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and developer of Nawgan. "Kirin Holdings shares our commitment to bringing science-based beverages to the market. Nawgan, powered by Cognizin, fulfills that commitment by helping people improve concentration and focus throughout the day."

Kyowa Hakko Bio, the maker of the ingredient Cognizin, is part of Kirin Holdings Group. Cognizin works with the other ingredients in Nawgan to support alertness and concentration. Studies have demonstrated that healthy adults who used Cognizin daily exhibited significant improvements in performance on tests of alertness and concentration, as well as brain activity visualized on sophisticated imaging techniques, the company says.

Nawgan launched in 2010 with seed funding provided in part by the St. Louis-based company Biogenerator and angel investors including beverage veterans from the St. Louis area, the company says. Nawgan Products LLC is led by a seasoned board of directors, including co-founding members Peter Wodtke and James S. Tonkin, along with Dan Broderick, Toru Yoshimura from Kirin, and Chief Executive Officer and President Jim von der Heydt.

"This partnership between Nawgan and Kirin illuminates one of the most exciting equity investments in the functional beverage space in the last several years," Tonkin said in a statement. "As brain health becomes more important, especially to an aging American population, Nawgan is perfectly positioned for measured and specific market expansion and growth, supporting mental alertness and focus for consumers from college age to seniors."

Available in Red Berries Caffeinated, Berry Non-Caffeinated and Tarocco Orange Caffeinated varieties, Nawgan contains natural ingredients and is low in calories and sodium. Nawgan can be found on shelves at more than 300 stores across the greater St. Louis region, including Walgreens, Straub's Fine Grocers, Dierberg's Markets and Shop'n'Save.