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January 4, 2019

Report: Two Coca-Cola Executives Join Cannabis Industry; Aurora and Aphria in Spotlight

A former Coca-Cola executive is joining the cannabis industry. Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web, which specializes in hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) wellness products, has named Eugenio Mendez to its newly-established role of chief growth officer. Mendez — who previously served as Coca-Cola’s vice-president of global marketing for water, enhanced water and sport drinks, and as an advisor to Charlotte’s Web for nearly two years — will step into his new role at the Canadian Securities Exchange-listed firm on Jan. 15. The appointment comes after the U.S. legalized hemp last month, removing a major obstacle for companies that are interested in selling CBD-infused drinks.

BNN Bloomberg reported the company is in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis to develop CBD-infused beverages. Coca-Cola and Aurora would likely develop beverages that will ease inflammation, pain and cramping. Aurora is just one of several companies Coca-Cola has discussed developing a cannabis drink strategy with. Executives have held high-level talks with Leamington, and Aphria two months ago, according to the publication.

This adds to previous speculation that Coca-Cola may be looking to New Age Beverages Corporation (NBEV) the Colorado-based Company that markets the brands XingTea®, Aspen Pure® Rocky Mountain Water, Búcha® Live Kombucha, Marley One Drop® Coffee, and Marley Mellow Mood® Relaxation Drinks. NBEV recently announced that it has appointed five new independent Board of Directors to strengthen shareholder representation, improve governance and to help guide the strategic direction of the firm through its next phase of the growth and evolution.

The new hire that stands out is a Mr. Tim Haas, and it could further strengthen the speculation that there might a connection to Coca-Cola

Tim Haas is the former Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Foods, the former CEO of The Minute Maid Company, and the former Group President of Coca-Cola Latin America. Following retirement from Coca-Cola in the mid 2000’s, he started an investment management company and been involved in numerous public and private ventures, and now is heavily involved with New Age Beverages.

Here is an 8k filing recently released, speaking about Tim Haas, former CEO of Coca-Cola

8k Filing here

Tim Haas, aged 70, is the former CEO of Coca-Cola Foods and The Minute Maid Company, and former Group President Latin America of The Coca-Cola Company. Over the past five years he has not held any formal Board of Directors or other employment positions. He is a graduate of The University of North Dakota.

Further companies in talks with major beverage companies is APHA, as they just received a hostile take-over bid. To add, speculation surrounds a new emerging cannabis company, Former Bio-Tech, Turned CBD Producer and Manufacturer, CBD of Denver (CBDD) was recently granted a company name change by the SEC, as it is positioning itself to enter the CBD/Cannabis industry with a line of new CBD products.

Heather MacGregor, a spokeswoman for Aurora, said in an emailed statement that the cannabis producer has expressed specific interest in the infused-beverage space, and intends to enter that market, BNN Bloomberg’s David George-Cosh reported.

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