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Guayaki Yerba Mate Announces Several New Partnerships with Leading Beverage Distributors on Both Coasts

(Sebastopol, CA – June 17, 2008) - Yerba mate has been one of the hottest drink trends in the natural products marketplace for the past couple of years, but now the invigorating drink from South America is also positioned to make a big splash in mainstream USA. Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products (, the pioneer and leading yerba mate brand in the U.S., is announcing several new partnerships with some of the most prestigious beverage distributors on both the East and West Coast.

The new distributors noted below, in southern California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, provide Guayaki with a comprehensive network of distributors up and down the west coast and eastward to the Rocky Mountains. Guayaki’s award-winning line of Organic Yerba Mate Drinks is gaining shelf space fast at a wide variety of retail outlets including mainstream grocery chains in many of the most populated areas of the U.S. such as New York City and Los Angeles. Some of the larger grocery chains that currently sell or have authorized Guayaki’s drinks for this summer include: Albertsons; Vons; Kroger; Fry’s; Safeway; Shaw’s; Raley’s; Wegmans; Ukrop’s; HEB; United Supermarkets; and Meijer. It is also noteworthy that mainstream convenience stores are selling Guayaki, including hundreds of 7-Eleven stores.

New Guayaki Distribution Partnerships in Southern California, NV, AZ and UT

John Lenore & Company (San Diego County, CA)

Prestige Sales LLC (Orange County and Southern Los Angeles County, CA)

Classic Distributing & Beverage Group (Central Los Angeles County, CA)

Allied Beverages, Inc. (San Fernando Valley and Santa Barbara County, CA)

Triangle (Heimark) Distributing (Palm Springs / CA desert area)

Underdog Distributing (Las Vegas, NV)

Spike Beverage (Arizona)

U.S. Foodservice (Utah)
Dominic’s – (Hollywood area - sells to major movie and TV studios and sets)

Southwest Traders (7 western states - servicing smoothie chains and coffee houses)

Café Moto – (400 independent coffee houses in San Diego)

Groundworks – (250 independent coffee houses in LA area)

So, what’s next for Guayaki? The California company is steadily building up its base on the east coast. Today, Guayaki is also announcing a major new distribution partnership with Exclusive Beverage Distribution that will cover New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties in NY. Guayaki’s distribution team in its home region of Northern California includes: Humbolt Distributing; Angell Distributing; Morris Distributing; Saccani Distributing; Crown Beverage; Ray's Beverage; Extreme Beverage; Energy Source; Premium Beverage; California Sungold (new), and Central Coast Distributing (new). In the Pacific Northwest, Guayaki partners with Columbia Distributing (WA and OR) and Odom Corporation (ID).

Guayaki has Colorado covered with New Age Beverage and Innermountain Beverage. In Texas, Guayaki is represented by Austin Beverage (Austin), BevSource (Houston), and Metroplex Organics (Dallas - new). Guayaki is gaining an impressive roster of new distributors during one of the most challenging eras for beverage companies. More new drinks were launched over the past year than ever before, so distributors are being hit with a lot of sales pitches and to land the account you need to rise to the top. “Guayaki is the real-deal among brands touting healthy and invigorating drinks and they have done a nice job building the yerba mate category,” says John Lenore, President and Owner of John Lenore & Company. “The Guayaki brand has a mystique and uniqueness that makes them sparkle, and we’re going to help put some muscle behind it out on the street.”

Yerba mate contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, 11 polyphenols and saponins (phytochemicals that bolster the immune system). Unlike functional and energy drink concoctions on the market today that feature synthetic and isolate ingredients, Guayaki follows a “whole plant - whole health” herbal tradition that unleashes the natural form of these nutrients in a way that the body can easily absorb and process them. “Guayaki doesn’t just sprinkle a few grains of organic yerba mate into their drinks and highlight it as a cool functional ingredient,” says Steve Gress, Co-Founder and President of Exclusive Beverage. “Yerba mate is the primary whole herb at the core of Guayaki’s bottled drinks and they blend it nicely with other whole herbs and premium juices,” adds Gress.

Former Coke Executive is a Mentor for the Youthful Grassroots Guayaki Team

Guayaki sales have skyrocketed ever since the company introduced the first bottled yerba mate drinks to North America in 2006. The youthful team that started Guayaki in 1997 has benefited greatly from the sage advice and direction of Pierre Ferrari, a former Senior VP of Sales & Marketing at Coca-Cola that knows a thing or two about beverage brand building. Ferrari left Coke several years ago to get involved with entrepreneurial projects with a social mission, such as Guayaki. “Pierre has been a tremendous mentor to our team and has helped us focus the Guayaki brand on our bottled drinks,” says David Karr, co-founder and Guayaki Director. “Having a bottled beverage veteran like Pierre driving our brand’s sales and marketing strategy is a big plus, including his role with prospective distributors,” adds Karr.

New Scientific Research is Boosting Yerba Mate’s Healthy Reputation

For many centuries, the traditional yuyeras (indigenous herbalists) of South America have used yerba mate as the base for their daily herbal medicine. Now, modern science is backing up many aspects of their cultural beliefs and that is helping Guayaki to seal the deal with potential distributors. A compilation of research published in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of Food Science* details yerba mate’s many attributes, including the following highlights from the authors:

· Yerba mate possesses a much higher antioxidant capacity than green tea.

· Experiments have shown a protective effect of mate against cancer.

· Yerba mate has been found to be hypocholesterolemic and hepatoprotective.

· Mate Tea has been shown to have possible effects in the area of weight loss and management and current research has provided some supportive evidence.

· Mate has also shown to have potential as a digestive aid due to a choleretic effect, increasing the rate of bile flow

· Administering Mate extract decreased the lipid oxidation in the heart by protecting myocardial tissue.

Guayaki Yerba Mate is The Stimulating Drink in the Healthy Beverage Category

The line of seven Guayaki Organic Yerba Mate Drinks includes: Traditional; Unsweetened; Pure Empower Mint; Pure Heart (a Raspberry Revolution Blend); Pure Passion (a Passionfruit Kundalini blend); Pure Endurance (a Citrus Stamina Blend); and Pure Mind (a Pomegranate Clarity Blend). The unique combination of robust nutrition and balanced stimulation from the brewed leaves of the rainforest yerba mate tree make Guayakí Yerba Mate the healthiest source of energy on the planet.

The Guayaki Drinks contain caffeine comparable to coffee and energy drinks; however, the caffeine is balanced by mate’s content of theobromine (the ‘euphoriant’ in chocolate), and a mild stimulant named theophylline. Yerba mate is a good source of B vitamins including pantothenic acid - the "anti-stress'' vitamin which promotes proper function of the adrenal gland, and magnesium, which has been proven to ease anxiety. Many caffeine-sensitive people that drink yerba mate gain vitality and clarity of mind, but don’t experience the jitters, stomach discomfort, energy crash and headaches that are common complaints expressed by people that drink coffee and energy drinks.

Alex Pryor and David Karr started a green beverage revolution a decade ago by bringing a rainforest drink that is a cultural icon in South American to the U.S. and creating innovative styles that suit the tastes preferred by people in North America. Guayaki’s Market-Driven-Restoration business model directly links customer purchases to the farming communities in the South American Atlantic Rainforests that Guayaki partners with to sustainably harvest organic yerba mate from rainforest grown cultivations and reforestation projects. This relationship generates a renewable income stream which enables these communities to improve their lives and restore their lands.

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