Iris Nova Wants to Be the Coca-Cola of Wellness Beverages, CEO Says

January 14, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

Health beverage company Iris Nova is modeling itself after its latest, greatest investor, Coca-Cola.

"The legacy and infrastructure they've built globally is really a model for what we'd like to build with Iris Nova," CEO and co-founder Zak Normandin told Cheddar Monday. "There's no better partner to kind of guide us along that path than Coca-Cola."

Beverage behemoth Coca Cola ($KO) led the latest $15 million round of funding for Iris Nova, the New York-based parent company of health beverage brand Dirty Lemon. Actress Sophia Bush and baseball legend Alex Rodriguez also participated in the round, according to Crunchbase. Normandin said he'd like to use the funding to eventually expand the number of brands under the Iris Nova umbrella.

And the company is getting started right away. Normandin said the company already has plans to launch a new brand, the alcohol-free aperitif Tres Limon, and has another product coming for the second half of 2019. It's also planning to expand its retail concept, The Drug Store, to a second location in New York City ー joining one currently in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood ー as well as to Miami and Los Angeles.

Dirty Lemon, which is known for adding unusual ingredients, like turmeric, collagen, and charcoal, to its beverages also briefly had a CBD beverage on the market, but pulled it in early November.

At the time, Normandin told Cheddar that the company's decision to remove the CBD-infused drink from the market came down to legal concerns, saying the company was “not in a position to take that risk right now.”

On Monday, he expanded on that reasoning, adding that the decision had more to do with CBD's tenuous legal status than Coke's investment.

"We were just trying to button up the company. In going through a big round of funding like this, we were just making sure that legally we were in a good place to take on that capital," Normandin said.

For full interview click here.