High Road Craft Ice Cream Acquires Ciao Bella Gelato
Company tripling manufacturing footprint, accelerating R&D efforts, developing new brands and capabilities
ATLANTA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 – Metro Atlanta-based High Road Craft Ice Cream, Inc., has acquired Ciao Bella Gelato Co., Inc., adding the country’s leading sorbetto portfolio to High Road’s lineup. The combined company plans to explore additional opportunities in the rapidly growing craft frozen dessert and novelty categories.
Ciao Bella Gelato has a storied history as a pioneer in the craft frozen dessert industry. Founded in 1983 in New York, the brand quickly found its way to success via innovative flavors, a cult foodservice following, and a commitment to quality. High Road’s Chief Executive Officer, Keith Schroeder, said, “I discovered Ciao Bella’s products as an aspiring young chef, and sought out their flavors both as a consumer and a professional during my culinary journey. To have the opportunity to steward a brand that I’ve admired for so long is quite a dream come true.”
Sherbrooke Capital has worked closely with the Ciao Bella team, to develop the company’s brand and growth strategy and optimize the operations infrastructure. “Over the past several years, we’ve been honored to partner with Ciao Bella on its path to becoming a leader in the non-dairy frozen dessert category,” said John Giannuzzi, Managing General Partner at Sherbrooke Capital. “High Road’s acquisition reaffirms the confidence we’ve had all along in the Company’s success and its potential.” Ciao Bella’s CEO, Carlos Canals, a globally-minded veteran of the CPG world (Kellogg/Kashi, UNREAL Brands, Tribe Mediterranean) is similarly enthusiastic about the brand’s future, and will be joining High Road as its Chief Integration Officer. Canals will emphasize revenue growth, expansion of the company’s brand architecture, and new product innovation. Says Canals, “We could not have found a better home for Ciao Bella than High Road. The passion, the belief in good food, and the innovative approach that Keith and the entire team brings is exactly what Ciao Bella needs for its next chapter. I am very happy to be joining the team and can’t wait to see the marvelous things that High Road will create.”
High Road’s Chief Marketing Officer, Nicki Schroeder, has studied the multi-decade history of Ciao Bella, and plans to re-introduce the brand’s classic, bold-colored paper packaging. Schroeder will collaborate with High Road’s culinary team to release both Ciao Bella’s “greatest hits” and new SKUs alike. “Ciao Bella has always stood for quality, and I’m proud to have it as part of our brand portfolio. I see Ciao Bella’s sorbetto lineup, in particular, as very extensible. I’m excited to see what we can do with it. The early responses from buyers and fans have been really positive.”
Bryan Freeman, CEO of Real Good Foods, and Board Director at High Road, worked tirelessly as an advisor and advocate for making Ciao Bella a part of the High Road family. "It's an exciting time for High Road, retailers, and most importantly people who love delicious ice cream. Combining Ciao Bella with High Road's culinary and manufacturing and sourcing excellence makes for a best of class portfolio. Nowhere else can you find fresh lemons from Sicily being juiced for sorbetto and freshly baked cookies being folded into Keith's creamy blend of vat pasteurized ice cream all within one facility."
About High Road Craft Ice Cream, Inc.: Founded in 2010, High Road Craft Ice Cream is America's fastest growing independent ice cream company. The company produces ultra-premium frozen dessert products for retail and foodservice, both branded (High Road Craft Ice Cream, Ciao Bella Gelato & Sorbetto, Helados La Neta) and premium private label. High Road operates out of a 75,000 square-foot, SQF Level III manufacturing plant in Marietta, Georgia.
About Ciao Bella Gelato Co., Inc.:
Acquired by High Road Ice Cream, Inc., in 2018, Ciao Bella has been synonymous with classic, high quality gelato and sorbetto since 1983.