Coconut water quenching investors’ thirst for gains

Vita Coco, once limited to health food stores, aims for the mainstream.

“Vita Coco, like many great adventures, began in a bar.”

Vita Coco stock

The line — a ray of light in a dense 218-page 2021 IPO filing — comes from the Vita Coco Co. co-founder (“coco-founder”?) Mike Kirban, who explains how the idea for Vita Coco was planted.

  • Kirban and friend Ira Liran met two Brazilian women at a bar in 2003.
  • In brief, Liran married one of them and moved to Brazil. Kirban visited Liran, Liran had Kirban drink a coconut, and Kirban liked it; the duo admired coconut water’s popularity in Brazil, said something like, “Let’s do this in America,” and, for brevity’s sake, boom.

Cracking open revenue streams

The $1.5B Vita Coco brand now holds 50%+ of the US coconut water market, according to Food Dive, with net sales up 13% last year to $427.8m, and its stock up 90%+ since that 2021 IPO.

The company now hopes to follow Ocean Spray’s playbook, leaning in to its potential as a cocktail mixer to expand its presence in bars, restaurants, clubs, and — through a canned cocktail partnership with Captain Morgan — liquor aisles.

Vita Coco is already shelling out strong growth stats:

  • The company says it’s already in 11% of US homes.
  • Relative Google search interest in coconut water is nearing all-time highs.
  • The brand has nearly as many TikTok followers as Coca-Cola — with even more likes.

BTW: Growing up dyslexic, Kirban’s teachers once told him he wouldn’t get a job if he couldn’t read. As he wrote in Vita Coco’s IPO filing, “If only my teachers could see me now!”

Topics: Food

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