Fermented foods maker Cleveland Kitchen has closed a $19 million Series A financing led by Amberstone Ventures with participation from existing investor Clover Vitality. Founded in 2013, Cleveland Kitchen produces fresh kraut, fermented dressings and marinades, kimchi, and pickles that are sold in more than 10,000 grocery stores nationwide. The business was founded by three brothers who began experimenting with fermentation in college and later sold kraut at a farmer’s market on weekends. The funding will support the company’s acquisition of Sonoma Brinery, a premium pickle manufacturer located in Healdsburg, Calif. The strategic combination further positions Cleveland Kitchen as a category leader in fermented foods and expands access to West Coast-based retailers and customers. The transaction includes a new manufacturing facility in Santa Rosa, Calif. All 50 employees of Sonoma Brinery will join Cleveland Kitchen, and Dave Ehreth, founder and president of Sonoma Brinery, with nearly two decades of fermentation science expertise, will consult and advise the team. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Sonoma Brinery’s capabilities align perfectly with Cleveland Kitchen and help to increase speed to market, by adding West Coast manufacturing support and providing proprietary fermentation science information,” said Drew Anderson, co-founder, and chief executive officer of Cleveland Kitchen. “The brand also provides a suite of ultra-high-quality and delicious fermented products. This acquisition drives our mission of building Cleveland Kitchen as the fermented culinary platform brand, leading product innovation, and category growth by producing delicious, fermented, and pickled foods with a halo of health.” Cleveland Kitchen expects to achieve strong growth this year by investing in new operational and manufacturing capabilities, driving increased distribution and household penetration, supporting retail partners, and introducing a new product line in the coming months. “Cleveland Kitchen has totally redefined the fresh fermented food space,” said James Graham, partner at Amberstone. “Drew and his team have built a platform of branded products that have already demonstrated significant appeal to a broad cross-section of the country, illustrated by their category-leading velocities in a number of the nation’s largest retailers. We’re excited to be part of the journey as they continue to lead product innovation in one of the most interesting categories we’ve seen.”