Milwaukee-based King Juice Co. Inc., the owner of the Calypso beverage brand and a co-manufacturer of non-carbonated beverages, announced an investment from private equity firm Mason Wells. Mason Wells, along with Calypso President Jeff Outlaw and other members of the management team, acquired the company from the Kezman and Purpero families. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The company’s Calypso brand of flavored lemonades is a leader within the shelf-stable lemonade category. The company also has developed leading edge beverage manufacturing capabilities for both the Calypso product line and select co-manufacturing customers, it says. Calypso brand Lemonades, Limeades and Teamonades are sold through a distribution network serving retailers nationally. The Calypso brand products also are distributed internationally in 20 countries.
“We are looking forward to driving growth of the Calypso brand and enhancing its already leading position within the flavored lemonade category,” Outlaw said in a statement. “Our ability to innovate, manufacture and distribute our products on a national and international scale provides a strong platform for growth. We are thrilled to be partnering with Mason Wells to help us in this journey given their strong financial backing and other resources that will fuel our ability to increase the strength of our retail relationships and distribution networks through enhanced brand partnering.”
Tim Kezman, chief executive officer of King Juice, will remain with the company as a consultant through a transitional period.
“King Juice possesses a unique combination of sophisticated manufacturing capability, a long-standing brand in the growing lemonade category and a national distribution network. We are proud of the beverage platform we have built at King Juice and we are excited about the opportunity to partner with Mason Wells to continue the growth of the company,” Kezman said on behalf of the ownership group, which includes the Kezman and Purpero families. “Mason Wells will provide additional resources to support the company’s long-term growth initiatives for both the Calypso brand and the co-manufacturing business. This is an exciting day for our employees, customers and suppliers.”
Ben Holbrook, managing director at Mason Wells, added: “We are extremely impressed with the workforce at King Juice, the industry leading manufacturing capabilities and the company’s market position in lemonade through the Calypso line of flavored lemonades. These key factors, along with the relationships that King Juice has forged with its customers and suppliers, have enabled the business to achieve a high level of success over the past 30 years. We are delighted that Jeff Outlaw will continue to lead the Calypso brand along with the strong sales and marketing team. We look forward to supporting and growing the team as they expand the company’s retail relationships and distribution network.”
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