LOS ANGELES — A week after Liberty Media Corp. announced it acquired a stake in the Borba skin care brand, the investment has gotten a little sweeter.
The drinkable and topical skin care brand has inked a marketing, licensing and distribution deal with beverage powerhouse Anheuser-Busch to expand Borba domestically and internationally.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Anheuser-Busch announced its wholesalers would start stocking Borba products — namely Aqua-Less Crystallines and Skin Balance Waters, which will be manufactured by the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch — in November.
"Adding the Borba Skin Balance Waters and Aqua-Less Crystallines to our portfolio allows us to participate in the emerging nutraceutical category," said David Peacock, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of business operations, in a statement. "The Borba line of beverages provides innovative and highly profi table products for our wholesalers and retail customers, while expanding our business in high-growth beverages beyond beer."
Scott Vincent Borba, founder and chief executive officer of the namesake brand, explained that working with Anheuser- Busch provides Borba, a small California company projected to reach $20 million in sales this year, with previously unattainable leverage to enter retailers, spas and luxury resorts on a global scale. The brand, now carried in about 215 doors, including Sephora and Ulta, could be in as many as 30,000 doors by the second half of next year. Borba retains the rights to sell its beverages and crystallines in selected retail accounts and online.
"My hope is to carve out our own areas within the stores that will have the holistic internal-external approach. The nutraceutical category is totally different from anything else in the marketplace," said Borba in an interview Monday. "We will have a premium, very visible presence."
For Anheuser-Busch, cementing a partnership with Borba pushes the company into a type of beverage business outside its core competency at a time when wine is eating into beer's dominance. Nielsen Monitor Plus reported that beer sales at food, liquor, drug and convenience stores for the year ended June 2 climbed 1.1 percent, trailing wine's 2.7 percent growth rate.
In the second quarter this year, however, Anheuser-Busch's gross sales were up nearly 6 percent, to $5.13 billion, from $4.85 billion for the same period the year before. To keep revenues chugging along, the company has stressed a willingness to extend its offerings into unexplored territories. "We will look at the total beverage landscape for other areas where our competitive advantages can drive sustainable growth, without the constraints of alcohol source, concentration or content," wrote August A. Busch 4th, president and ceo of Anheuser-Busch, in the company's 2006 annual report.
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