Highlander Partners Announces Acquisition of Pretzilla®, Best Known for Its Fresh Soft Pretzel Bites
November 3, 2020 – Dallas, TX – Benestar Brands, LLC (“Benestar”), a portfolio company of Highlander Partners, L.P., announced today the acquisition of Miller Baking Company, the manufacturer of Pretzilla branded soft pretzel bites and buns. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Pretzilla (“the “Company”) is a pioneer in fresh soft pretzel bread and today is the leading brand and manufacturer in this highly innovative, growing category.
In 2007, under the leadership of owner Brian Miller, the 97-year old Company began developing a unique “light and airy with a touch of sweetness” soft pretzel bread and in 2010, the Pretzilla brand was born. The business has since transitioned from a multi-product bakery to a specialized pretzel bread snack business and today offers a variety of soft pretzel products, including Burger Buns, Mini Buns, Sausage Buns, and Bites, distributed nationally to over 10,000 stores. The Company manufactures all products (which are non-GMO, allergen-friendly, vegan, and kosher) in its two Milwaukee-based facilities.
Since dedicating itself to pretzel bread, the Company has invested significantly in R&D and operations, spurring remarkable innovation in the nascent category in terms of both product introductions and product attributes. The Company has created markets for products at retail that did not exist previously such as fresh soft pretzel bites, an exciting innovation in the snack food industry. With bites featuring new flavors and fillings hitting the market today, Pretzilla is well positioned to demonstrate continued momentum in the snacking category. As the first mover in the market, Pretzilla maintains a significant market share in the retail pretzel bread category.
Carl E. Lee, Jr., CEO of Benestar Brands, commented, “Pretzilla is a uniquely positioned brand. It is already a beloved household name with great awareness, yet it has hardly scratched the surface of its market opportunity. With Benestar’s retail relationships and penchant for product innovation, we think there is an incredible opportunity to take Pretzilla to the next level. We know the pretzel category well and are amazed by the strides Brian Miller and his team have made to develop and produce products with such a high level of consistent quality. We are thrilled to welcome Pretzilla to the Benestar family and look forward to continued growth, through both driving new snack innovations and accelerating existing products.”
“This is an exciting time for Pretzilla,” said Founder, Brian Miller. “What started as a simple passion for baking pretzel bread has grown into an amazing brand that is recognized in households across the U.S. I’m extremely proud of what the Pretzilla team and its leadership have been able to accomplish. I look forward to watching the brand achieve totally new levels of success with the Highlander and Benestar teams.”
Jeff L. Hull, President and CEO of Highlander Partners, added, “Since forming Benestar in August 2019 with the acquisition of Evans Foods, Highlander and the Benestar team have been actively targeting add-on investments; this marks our third acquisition made under the Benestar platform. We are seeking exciting, innovative brands with strong growth potential across the snacking category and Pretzilla fits these criteria perfectly. Pretzilla is the category leader in pretzel bread and dominates the market today due to superior innovation, consistent high quality and outstanding customer service. We intend to invest significantly in Pretzilla’s production capabilities in order to meet the growing demand for its soft fresh pretzels and our plans for robust product innovation.”
Cascadia Capital acted as financial advisor to Miller Baking Company. Antares Capital provided senior financing facilities and Norwest Mezzanine Partners provided mezzanine debt and equity in support of the transaction.
A family-owned business since 1923 based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Miller Baking Company traditionally produced a wide array of bread and baked goods. Under the leadership of Brian Miller, the Company discovered a uniquely delicious soft pretzel bread, and in 2010, created the Pretzilla brand. Today, Pretzilla is the clear leader in the soft pretzel market, with products distributed nationally to both retail and foodservice customers. For more information, visit www.pretzilla.com.
About Benestar Brands
Benestar Brands operates as a holding company for a diverse range of leading snack products, including pork rinds and corn tortilla chips. Its brands include Mac’s, Cazo de Oro, Turkey Creek, PÖRQ and Chicas Chips. Benestar is headquartered in Charlotte, NC with six production facilities around North America (Chicago, IL; Arlington, TX; Portsmouth, OH; City of Industry, CA; Thomaston, GA; and Saltillo, Mexico). Its newest production facility will open in Kings Mountain, NC in 2021. For more information, visit www.benestarbrands.com.
About Highlander Partners, L.P.
Highlander Partners, L.P. is a Dallas-based private investment firm with approximately $2 billion of assets under management. The firm focuses on making investments in businesses in targeted industries in which the principals of the firm have significant operating and investing experience. Highlander employs a buy and build investment approach, creating value by helping companies grow organically and through acquisitions. For more information, visit www.highlander-partners.com.