Jones Soda Co., which made such a splash with its unusual flavors and personalized labels back in the early 2000s, has taken a $9 million investment from a Canadian cannabidiol (CBD) company – which has hired a former Kellogg executive as its CEO. Ultimately, it means Jones could develop CBD-infused beverages.
In July, Jones Soda sold 15 million shares of stock to HeavenlyRx Ltd., a subsidiary of Sol Global Investments, for $9 million (60 cents per share). Jones also issued HeavenlyRx a warrant to purchase up to 15 million additional shares at an exercise price of 78 cents per share, which provides Jones Soda the potential for an additional $11.7 million in capital.
Jones Soda plans to utilize the capital to grow and enhance its existing beverage portfolio, along with pursuing the development of product extensions, including the potential commercialization of CBD-infused beverages, the company said. However, the approved use of CBD in foods and beverages is still awaiting FDA approval.
Meanwhile, Heavenly Rx back in June named Paul Norman its chief executive. Norman spent 30 years at the cereal company, most recently as president of Kellogg North America.
As a result of its investment, Heavenly Rx named Norman to the Jones Soda board of directors. The CBD company also appointed to Jones' board Clive Sirkin, "a seasoned marketing executive [with] multinational CPG companies," whose last job was chief growth officer at Kellogg.
Interestingly, those announcements came just weeks after another Kellogg executive left to join the hemp industry. Charlotte’s Web hired as its CEO the former head of Kellogg’s U.S. snacks division, Adrienne “Deanie” Elsner.
In addition to providing capital for various product initiatives, HeavenlyRx will leverage its relationships with several thousand QSR locations, increasing the number of storefronts where Jones products are sold and bringing the Jones brand to more people across the country.
Jones is headquartered in Seattle; all cannabis is legal in Washington state.