BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 22, 2016 (PRNewswire) — Sunrise Strategic Partners, a Boulder, Colorado-based accelerator of emerging brands co-founded by Steve Hughes and Trilantic North America, on Tuesday announced a minority investment in Maple Hill Creamery, producer of third-party certified 100% grass-fed organic dairy items including whole milk yogurts, kefir, cheeses, and milk. This is the fifth investment by Sunrise since it launched earlier this year.
Maple Hill traces its roots to 2003 and is today the top-selling grass-fed yogurt brand in the natural channel. The family owned brand was formally founded in 2009 when Founder & CEO Tim Joseph began making and selling organic, 100% grass-fed yogurt products from his dairy farm to local retailers in upstate New York. Maple Hill has since grown from two farms to over 100 as of the end of 2016, representing 25% of all organic dairy farms operating in New York State.
"Maple Hill Creamery is challenging conventional thinking that you can't produce milk with 'just grass'. We are committed to growing a community of regenerative grass farmers and demonstrating how 100% grass-fed dairy is the 'new' organic by benefitting the cows, consumers, the farmers and the land," said Tim Joseph, Maple Hill Creamery Founding Farmer & CEO. "Partnering with Sunrise Strategic Partners is an exciting new chapter for Maple Hill. We look forward to leveraging the Sunrise team's operational expertise and industry relationships to grow the brand."
Grass-fed dairy supports humane animal treatment, offers financial prosperity for family dairy farmers, creates superior quality dairy products, and encourages environmental sustainability. The 100% grass-fed practices of Maple Hill represent a return to a "closed loop" model of dairy farming where cows eat the best food for them—grass from pasture and baleage—and are allowed to socialize and spend most of their time on pasture. Due to this, Maple Hill's grass-fed cows live on average at least as twice as long as conventional dairy cows, and have fewer health issues.
In addition to these practices, holistically-managed grass-fed dairy farming contributes environmental benefits including improved farm soil and nutrient density. Holistic planned grazing regenerates the soil, supports wildlife biodiversity, sequesters carbon and limits pollution of waterways. Additionally, many consumers will find benefits in the lipid profile of 100% grass-fed whole milk dairy products. Third-party tests of Maple Hill's dairy products show higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids (a 1:1 ratio) versus other national dairy brands (ranging from 2:1 to 7:1), as well as higher levels of beta-carotene.
"Maple Hill Creamery is one of the fastest-growing dairy brands in the natural channel. What started as a specialty regional yogurt company in 2009 has become a national dairy brand, and consumers can now find Maple Hill Creamery in over 6,000 retailers across the US, from Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, and Sprouts Farmers Market to select Kroger banners, as well as thousands of independent grocers and specialty retailers," said Steve Hughes, CEO and Co-Founder of Sunrise Strategic Partners. "As consumers and retailers begin to understand the value and benefits of 100% grass-fed there is significant opportunity to scale this brand. I'm looking forward to working with Tim and the entire Maple Hill team to bring 100% grass-fed dairy to more consumers."
The investment from Sunrise will enable Maple Hill to invest in the expansion of the team, as well as sales, marketing and supply to support the brand's rapid growth. This marks the fifth investment for Sunrise, a brand accelerator that provides growth capital and expertise to early stage health and wellness brands to support their development, add strategic value and share guidance on tactical priorities.
About Maple Hill Creamery
Maple Hill Creamery is a farm-family owned dairy manufacturer founded in 2009, and is widely recognized as the preeminent leader in the emerging 100% grass-fed dairy category. They are the first dairy brand to receive the Pennsylvania Certified Organic 100% Grassfed Certification. Since day one, Maple Hill has stood by their conviction that 100% grass-fed organic dairy farming is better for everyone from cows to consumers. 100% grass-fed dairy farming produces the highest quality milk, supports the healthiest lifestyle for cows, improves the fertility of grazing land, and allows farmers to prosper. The Maple Hill Creamery Milkshed now numbers over 100 small farms, and will continue to transition New York State dairy farms to 100% grass-fed organic in 2017. Maple Hill Creamery products are available nationwide in over 6,000 retailers, including many specialty and independent retailers. For more information, visit www.maplehillcreamery.com, and follow us on Twitter @MapleHillCream, Facebook (www.facebook.com/maplehillcreamery), and Instagram @maplehillcreamery.
About Sunrise Strategic Partners
Sunrise Strategic Partners, LLC ("Sunrise"), based in Boulder, Colorado, provides growth capital and expertise to emerging brands in the healthy, active and sustainable living space that resonate with millennials, have a strong proof of concept and have reached approximately $10-$20 million in revenue. The Sunrise team is deeply experienced in scaling brands and supports these investments by adding strategic value and guidance on tactical priorities. Sunrise Strategic Partners was founded by Steve Hughes, founder of Boulder Brands, in partnership with Trilantic North America, a leading private equity firm. For more information, visit www.sunrisestrategicpartners.com.