Teall backs Sunshine Beverages

11/19/17

Teall Investments, a private equity company based in Winston-Salem, NC; Atlanta, GA; and San Francisco, CA, recently invested in Sunshine Beverages, a beverage company also based in Winston-Salem, NC. Sunshine Beverages produces, markets and sells a “better-for-you” energy beverage, branded Sunshine, which is quickly expanding across the Southeast with three refreshing flavors: Ginger Berry, Blueberry Lemonade, and Clementine Twist.

Sunshine Beverages produces, markets and sells a “better-for-you” energy beverage, branded Sunshine, which is quickly expanding across the Southeast with three refreshing flavors: Ginger Berry, Blueberry Lemonade, and Clementine Twist.

Sunshine Beverages produces, markets and sells a “better-for-you” energy beverage, branded Sunshine, which is quickly expanding across the Southeast with three refreshing flavors: Ginger Berry, Blueberry Lemonade, and Clementine Twist.

Sunshine was birthed out of forward-thinking ad agency The Variable, where Sunshine founder and CEO Keith Vest continues to serve as chairman. “Teall’s investment in Sunshine allowed our company to no longer be a ‘side business’ of The Variable,” Vest said. “Since the investment a few months ago, Sunshine has grown from zero to eight full-time employees and rapidly accelerated our footprint from North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region to all parts of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.”

Sunshine recently added Lizzie Ward to its management team, who joined as President of the beverage company. Prior to Sunshine, she was with Teall Investments, working directly with Teall Investments chairman, Ben C. Sutton, Jr. on acquisitions and corporate development. Ward, a Wake Forest graduate, received her MBA from Emory University Goizueta Business School and spent a year with The Coca-Cola Company before joining Teall Investments in 2016.

As part of Sunshine’s leadership team, Ward is focused on sales and marketing for the fast-growing brand.

Vest said Sunshine’s projected growth is changing by the week, and he expects the drink to be available at more than 1,500 grocery stores and 800 convenience stores, independent retailers, craft breweries and other locations by early 2018. This represents a ten-fold increase in distribution since Teall made its initial investment. He credits the brand’s recent explosive growth to strong retailer relationships built over time by Sunshine’s founders, adding corporate staff to focus on marketing and operations, and hiring sales managers in each of its key markets to build the business at a local level.

“When we created Sunshine and launched it in the Piedmont Triad, it was available only at select locations of Lowes Foods grocers and Quality Mart convenience stores,” Vest said. “Teall’s investment has enabled us to activate our growth strategy in the South, and our products are now found on the shelves at Food Lion, Ingles and Harris Teeter, with other retailers to be announced in January of next year.”

Earlier in November, Teall announced the acquisition of millennial-centered agency Riddle & Bloom, a specialized “Ideas and Access” agency that helps its clients market to the growing demographic of Next Generation consumers: high schoolers, college students, and young professionals. Earlier this year, Teall also announced the acquisition of a significant interest in Alabama-based Tailgate Guys, which provides turnkey hospitality packages to fans. Since Teall invested in Tailgate Guys about nine months ago, that company has experienced meteoric growth, nearly quadrupling in size.

Teall Investments Chairman Sutton, who is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders in the sports and entertainment industry, founded ISP Sports in Winston-Salem in 1992. After rapidly becoming the market leader in collegiate sports marketing, broadcast, publishing, sponsorship services, ticketing and stadium seating, ISP Sports merged into IMG College in 2010. Sutton, who became chairman and president of IMG College in 2010 and had served as chairman emeritus since September 2015, left IMG College late last year to focus his efforts on Teall Investments.

“Sunshine is the perfect complement to Teall’s other high-growth investments, which include Tailgate Guys and Riddle & Bloom. Much like those investments, Sunshine is a lifestyle brand with broad appeal to consumers,” Sutton said. “Millennials’, and even Gen-Zs’, personality traits, which are much more attentive to their health and well-being, perfectly line up with Sunshine’s attributes. In fact, I first learned of Sunshine from my own kids who are both quite health-conscious.”

“In addition to its appeal to the younger consumers, Sunshine has a particularly strong following among women. The energy drink category, which traditionally has been dominated by male consumers, is being pioneered by Sunshine among female consumers,” Sunshine president Lizzie Ward said. “Both men and women are looking for healthy, less extreme energy drink options, and we believe Sunshine fits the bill and is well positioned for a high growth track product.”

About Ben C. Sutton, Jr.

The founder of ISP Sports and former Chairman and President of IMG College, Ben Sutton was recently inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the boards of the United States Olympic Committee, Ronald Reagan Presidential, National Football, and Naismith Basketball foundations. He also serves as a director with the Wyndham PGA Championship, the Falk School of Sports Management at Syracuse University, and at Wake Forest University, his alma mater. Sutton has received numerous awards including the Wake Forest University Distinguished Alumni Award, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine (highest civilian honor in North Carolina), induction into the NACMA hall of fame, as well as being named one of the top or most powerful sports executives in America by numerous publications.

About Teall Investments

Teall Investments is a privately-held set of investments in innovative, high growth potential lifestyle brands and services. The company’s leadership has extensive experience in sports, media, marketing and entertainment, and the group provides its operating companies deep expertise in a number of disciplines: corporate strategy, organizational management, culture and training, financial strategy, employee operations, recruiting, and expert legal diligence.

Teall Investments is led by Ben C. Sutton, Jr. and an executive management team that built and expanded four national market-leading businesses in the college sports space: IMG College Media, IMG Seating, IMG College Licensing and IMG Ticketing. Teall invests in complementary organizations that can strategically work together to realize greater value, sharing in expertise, thought leadership and networks.

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