Forward Buys Xochitl, Steph Curry Backs Nirvana Super 💰

Welcome back to This Week in CPG, folks. If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to others who might enjoy it too.

We have a lot to cover so let’s get into it:

  • Uncle Nearest buys another brand 🍸

  • Sprinter scores funding 📈

  • Loewe x On 👟

  • YOUZU launches 🧴

  • Nestlé to launch GLP-1 food brand 💉

Forward Buys Xochitl 🇲🇽

Forward Consumer Partners, a recently launched private equity firm, acquired a 50% stake in Xochitl, a Texas-based producer of premium tortilla chip and salsa products. The founder of Xochitl, Carlos Salinas, will retain a 50% interest in the company. 

Founded in 1995, Xochitl, which is pronounced “so-cheel,” began with a salsa recipe that had been passed down in the Salinas family for nearly a century. Five years later, they launched their flagship tortilla chip product. Xochitl utilizes clean label ingredients and small batch manufacturing techniques, and they retail at Albertsons, Central Market, Sprouts, Publix, and many others. 

This is the second acquisition of 2024 for Forward Consumer Partners. In March, they acquired a majority stake in Virginia-based Firehook Bakery, the #1 artisanal crackers brand in the U.S. Like Xochitl, Firehook Bakery was also founded in the 1990s.

Based on these two acquisitions, Forward Consumer Partners clearly has a type: 

  • Premium brands that have been in the marketplace for decades and have established considerable brand equity.

  • Brands that control their own manufacturing. 

  • Brands that specialize in specific categories — e.g. artisanal crackers or tortilla chips — but can leverage their brand equity to expand into new categories. 

More on the transaction here.

Deals 💰

Mergers & Acquisitions 

  • Uncle Nearest, one of the largest black-owned spirits companies in the world, acquired Square One Organic Spirits, a producer of organic, farm-to-bottle spirits. Uncle Nearest has been busy transforming itself from a whiskey producer to a spirits conglomerate. Last year, they purchased Domaine Saint Martin in order to expand into the cognac category. PR Newswire

  • Heineken has acquired a minority stake in Stëlz, a Dutch producer of hard seltzers and canned cocktails. Milan Voet and Glenn Cornelisse co-founded the brand in 2020. The Spirits Business


  • NBA superstar Steph Curry made a significant investment in Nirvana Super, a wellness beverage brand that sells HMB-infused waters, seltzers, and shots. HMB is a super ingredient that can help build lean muscle while accelerating recovery. Curry will also act as a brand ambassador. PR Newswire

  • Sprinter, the RTD vodka soda brand founded by Kylie Jenner, secured $12.5M in equity funding from undisclosed investors. Sprinter launched in March and they shipped 140,000 cases in their first month. A staggering sum for a bev alc brand. SEC

  • Wilde Irish Gin, a Malibu-based luxury gin brand, raised a $270K convertible note. The company plans to raise an additional $2.7M. Their bottle is pretty stunning. SEC

  • Actual Veggies, a purveyor of frozen veggie burgers & fries, raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Relentless Consumer Partners. New Fare also participated. NOSH

  • Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (e2p), a Chicago-based private equity firm that’s focused on food, beverage, and packaging manufacturers, secured $546M for Fund II. e2p

What’s New 🤩

Apparel, Cosmetics, and Wellness

  • Loewe x On launched another footwear and apparel collab. It’s stunning 👇 Footwear News

  • YOUZU, a new AAPI-founded skincare brand, officially launched with two products: Daily Refresh Spray and Daily Refresh Serum. Happi

  • Rihanna is making waves in China as she promotes Fenty Beauty. The billionaire singer appeared on a Douyin livestream and visited a pop-up in Shanghai. Jing Daily

Food, Beverage, and Alcohol

  • Nestlé is launching a new frozen food brand, Vital Pursuits, which is intended for users of weight loss drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy. The new line will debut in Q4 and feature high-fiber, high-protein bowls, pizzas, etc. Launching a frozen food brand that’s better-for-you makes a lot of sense, but doesn’t tying it to weight loss drugs put an unnecessary ceiling on the brand? Vital Pursuits sounds like Kevin’s Natural Foods or Amy’s Kitchen albeit with an infinitely worse name. CBS News

  • Elavi, a San Francisco-based producer of low-sugar, gut-friendly desserts, launched a new line of high-protein brownies. The packaging is pretty great. Love the protein callout kettlebell👇 Stack3d

  • Rapper Megan Thee Stallion is getting into the tequila game soon. Details are scarce but there’s evidence to support that the brand is named Chicas Divertidas. Bottle Raiders

  • Health-Ade Kombucha launched a limited-edition flavor to celebrate summer — Orange Creamsicle. Instagram

Data 🖥️

  • e.l.f. Beauty had a very strong fiscal 2024. Net sales jumped 77% to just over $1B, while gross margins expanded by 330 bps to 71%. Net income for the year was $127.7M on a GAAP basis. Impressive. CNBC

Distribution News 🚚