The Real Reason Starbucks Is Selling Its Evolution Fresh Juice Brand

When Evolution Fresh opened its doors in 1995, it had the dream "of giving more people access to the most delicious and nutritious juice," but it couldn't happen right away. 15 years later, in 2010, it acquired the machinery needed to make and keep its organic and juices intact so these could be transported and sold outside of its home region of Rancho Cucamonga, in Southern California. 

Change came swiftly after that. A year later in 2011, The Wall Street Journal says the juice company caught the eye of Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz. Starbucks picked up the juice maker for a cool $30 million with the idea of selling its products in Starbucks stores and specialty juice bars too. The idea, the Starbucks CEO said at the time, was to give the coffee house a break into the premium juice market through products that could attract interest within the health and wellness space, per The Wall Street Journal. Now, Evolution Fresh's fortunes are set to change yet again because Schultz' return to Starbucks has meant a change in priority for the coffee house chain. 

It is no secret that the once and current CEO is now looking to inject new vitality into its stores and build new bridges with restive employees. To do this, he needs to get rid of things that no longer serve the coffee chain's immediate needs — which explains his decision to sell Evolution Fresh.

The acquisition could open new doors for Evolution Fresh

But according to Business Wire, Evolution Fresh won't be left out in the cold. Instead, the brand and its operations are being sold to Bolthouse Farms, which says it is excited about this acquisition. In the press release, the president of Bolthouse Farms' Consumer Brands, Bill Levisay, says, "We have long admired the Evolution Fresh brand and see tremendous untapped potential in the premium beverage category. By bringing these powerhouse brands together — Bolthouse Farms and Evolution Fresh — we will deliver a robust, high-growth, and consumer-preferred portfolio of juices to market." Starbucks, for its part, indicated that the new partnership had the potential to take Evolution Fresh to a new level.

Starbucks executive vice president for Global Channel Development Hans Melotte said that Starbucks felt "there is a great runway and opportunity to take Evolution Fresh to the next level, and Bolthouse Farms' considerable experience and success in the premium beverage category will allow the brand to continue growing." Bolthouse hopes to build awareness for the Evolution Fresh, which is currently being sold at stores like Whole Foods. The Wall Street Journal says Bolthouse will keep all of the brand's employees, all of which are employed with Starbucks in California.