GraceKennedy expands reach in US market

GraceKennedy, one of the Caribbean’s larger corporate entities, has announced a new distribution deal in the U.S. with American beverage giant AriZona Beverages, USA, LLC.

This agreement gives AriZona the rights to distribute the Grace Beverage line to convenience stores, independents and on premise locations – including restaurants and bars – across New York and New Jersey, expanding Grace’s reach beyond traditional Caribbean and Hispanic trade outlets and into mainstream urban retailers in the northeast, said GraceKennedy in a statement.

The company said it will continue to distribute Grace Beverages directly to the major retail chains in the northeast U.S., such as Wal-Mart, Pathmark, Stop and Shop, ShopRite and others.

In July 2014, the GraceKennedy Group acquired the operating assets and business of U.S. based food company La Fe, a deal giving the company distribution control for much of the East Coast of the U.S. from its warehouses in Moonachie, New Jersey; Miami, Fl.; and Atlanta, Ga, as well as access to the Hispanic market – one of the fastest-growing consumer segments in food and beverage.

“When we acquired La Fe, one of our top agenda items was the expansion of our beverage portfolio in the U.S.A.,” said GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby.

“AriZona is one of the best distributors of beverages in the New York Metro market and presents a huge opportunity to grow our business,” he added. “The interest from AriZona is also confirmation that our investment in our brands over the years is well recognized by our consumers and key players in the trade.

“This deal literally has the potential to double our beverage numbers over the next two years,” he continued. “The deal is barely a month old and already we are seeing an increase in our beverage sales.”

AriZona Beverages USA, LLC, based in Woodbury, New York, is a multi-billion dollar company, which makes AriZona Iced Tea, flavored waters, juices, coffees, energy drinks and powdered tea mixes.

With this distribution partnership, the company will now distribute Grace Tropical Rhythms, the Grace Aloe Drink line, as well as Grace Coconut Water for GraceKennedy USA LLC.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Grace Beverages and expand both of our businesses domestically and internationally,” said Don Vultaggio, chairman of AriZona Beverages. “We look forward to a long and successful business relationship.”

Michael Ranglin, president and chief executive officer of GraceKennedy USA LLC, said when the opportunity to work with AriZona was presented, “we acted on it because we know it will give us the chance to build-out our beverages across the urban northeastern areas.

“We’ve been operating in the U.S. market since the 1980s, and we have always wanted to expand the distribution of Grace Beverages,” he said. “This distribution partnership with AriZona is part of our strategic plans to expand our business, and consistent with our overall aim of becoming a Global Consumer Group.”

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