Pulp Culture Closes $7M Series A, Targets Growth of Full Spectrum (TM) Fermented Beverage Category

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leading fermentation sciences company, Pulp Culture, has closed a $7 million Series A funding round and aims to drive growth of the Full Spectrum (TM) fermented beverage category. Launched in 2020 by plant based entrepreneurs Brendan Brazier and Mark McTavish, the company is on a mission to change the consumer relationship with fermented beverages containing alcohol. Driven by innovation and precision fermentation, Pulp Culture produces functional beverages that deliver enhanced bioactivity, probiotics, adaptogens, alcohol and a unique sensation known as the “Entourage Effect”.

Participating in the funding round was a collection of innovators, athletes, and trendsetters. Institutional participation was led by The Kale Fund, Vibrant Ventures, and Roger Lienhard of Blue Horizon. Strategic funding was led by biotech entrepreneur Marc Lustig, tech entrepreneur Kyle Vogt, fashion entrepreneurs Michael Mente & Raissa Gerona, and internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian. The round also featured a high powered list of CPG innovators, including the founders of Four Sigmatic, MUDWTR and The Feed. The funding will further accelerate innovation and help to drive growth for Pulp Culture, as the brand prepares to launch new industry first products and evolve into an omni-channel experience.

Pulp Culture has been crafting a line of functional fermented beverages (6 billion probiotics in each can, zero sugar, and 4.9% ABV) since the launch of the brand in June 2020. All products are sustainably produced, and designed for high performance people who enjoy a buzz with benefits.

“Pulp Culture is a brand that I’ve wished existed for years; functional ingredients in a fermented and therefore naturally alcoholic, sugar free and certified probiotic drink with super mushrooms and other adaptogens. It seems too good to be true. You’re actually giving your body the building blocks it needs to recover and reduce stress, so that you’ll enjoy the moment and also come back better the next day, not hungover,” said Brendan Brazier, former Ironman triathlete and Pulp Culture co-founder. “We know that people, especially those who perform at a high level, want to enjoy a health-boosting beverage that naturally contains alcohol, but so few people knew that was even a possibility, well, it is, when crafted properly by way of spontaneous fermentation.”

Having recently secured a national partnership with premium grocers Whole Foods Market and Thrive Market, the product lineup is now available for purchase nationwide. This recent investment will facilitate plans to accelerate retail growth in key markets across the US, and will help Pulp Culture to pursue aggressive growth in the E-commerce channel. “Our products are raw and alive yet 100% shelf stable, which eliminates the need for refrigeration. Furthermore, our fermented juices are licensed as wine and thus permitted to ship direct-to-consumer across the US. These are distinct advantages which help us to position Pulp Culture for DTC success,” says Mark McTavish, CEO and Co-Founder.

The Series A investment provided the company with the funding needed to complete construction of their new 13,000sf facility in downtown Los Angeles. All R&D and production is performed here via a proprietary process, with all products being manufactured and packaged on-site. As of August 2022, Pulp Culture has now opened a day club + juice bar (called “Siesta”). This new venue offers an indoor tasting room experience, and an extensive outdoor terrace that features several cabanas set in lush surroundings. With 125 seats and a total standing capacity for 440 patrons, the venue is an attractive event space that is capable of handling large gatherings. The brick and mortar experience allows consumers to be fully immersed in the culture of “drinking better”.

“As the first in the Full Spectrum (TM) fermented beverage category, education is the greatest challenge ahead of us…and also the greatest opportunity. Consumers are beginning to understand that fermentation is a health science, and that alcohol is simply one piece to the puzzle of outcomes. When assembling our investor team, we prioritized strategic value over money alone. We believe it will take an army of innovators, evangelists, and influential folks to effect real change and help consumers to realize the potential of fermentation,” says McTavish.

This summer, Pulp Culture also launched a partnership with Thrive Market, accelerating the company’s efforts to reach conscious consumers nationwide. “Consumer preferences are continuing to shift, generating a thirst for clean, transparent adult beverages — and Pulp Culture is an elevated ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage,” reports Christine McNerney, Sr. Director Of Merchandising at Thrive Market.

It’s all about ingredients, and Pulp Culture will continue to bolster its position in the market as a super mushroom beverage. Humans have been consuming functional mushrooms for thousands of years to support their bodies in a variety of ways. Certain mushrooms can be used for specific “functions” because they are considered adaptogens and help with areas like focus, energy, stress relief, sleep, and immune support. When humans first discovered that letting nature take its course with a barrel full of apples produced a naturally alcoholic and gut beneficial beverage, it quickly became one of the best ways to drink for fun and function. So, why not use fermentation to unleash the full potential of super mushrooms? Scientifically speaking, this is a magical combination.

“Four Sigmatic is a science-y way of saying “really good for you”. We’ve turned the planet’s most astoundingly nutrient-dense ingredients, such as Lions Mane mushrooms, into products consumers will love to have everyday. We are excited to partner with Pulp Culture so that consumers can experience the power of mushrooms in a “better for you” fermented beverage!” says Founder of Four Sigmatic, Tero Isokauppila.

Fermentation is a category that has been around for thousands of years, but is now attracting a heightened level of investment and innovation. The global fermented foods and beverages market is set to witness growth at a rate of 5.6% between 2022 and 2032, totaling a valuation of US$ 989.2 Bn by 2032. Rising production and consumption of fermented foods and beverages worldwide is a key factor augmenting growth in the global fermented foods and beverages market. Innovative strategies are resulting in many exciting new product categories, wherein modern technology is combined with various fermentation techniques. Many food manufacturing companies have shifted their preference towards developing healthy and nutritious fermented food products, such as Meati and Zero Acre Farms. The EVERY Company, a food tech company based on San Francisco, is helping consumers meet their dietary needs by developing a fermentation process that creates animal-free egg protein with the same functionality and taste of the original product, challenging many plant-based alternatives. Look out for an exciting new joint venture between The EVERY Company and Pulp Culture, scheduled to hit the market in October 2022.

For more information on Pulp Culture please visit www.pulpculture.la.

About Pulp Culture:

Pulp Culture is fermented juice, enhanced by superfoods and adaptogens. Each blend is formulated with a specific functional outcome in mind, and contains only the ingredients seen on the front label of the can. It starts with raw juice which is spontaneously fermented, yielding a naturally alcoholic and certified probiotic beverage. This Full Spectrum (TM) beverage delivers all of the benefits that Mother Nature intended: billions of live probiotic cultures, and a vast array of beneficial vitamins and nutrients which are derived from the fermentation process. Designed for high performance people, but enjoyed by everyone. Learn more at www.pulpculture.la


Pulp Culture

Makela Pichler