Greg Steltenpohl, Pioneer in Plant-Based mostly Drinks, Dies at 66

“Steve inspired him to assume exterior the field and to take a look at the second as one among a possibility for innovation and progressive considering and never as a defeat,” Eli Steltenpohl stated. “That actually gave my dad some mandatory fireplace to tug by.”

Odwalla by no means totally recovered. With the corporate on the verge of chapter, its founders had been pressured to promote a controlling curiosity to personal fairness companies.

The Coca-Cola Firm acquired Odwalla in 2001 for $181 million, then shut it down final yr. In doing so, Coke cited a necessity for company efficiencies and a client choice for much less sugary drinks, although Mr. Steltenpohl advised The Instances in 2016 that Coke had by no means maximized the potential of the model.

“This isn’t what my dad envisioned for Odwalla,” his son stated. “However that made the success of Califia that a lot sweeter.”

In 2010, Mr. Steltenpohl was planning to begin one other juice firm, however he switched gears when he noticed the approaching wave of nondairy milk options produced from nuts, coconut, oats and soy. Whereas he was recovering from his liver transplant surgical procedure, the hospital gave him a protein drink; he discovered it so distasteful, he advised The Instances, that he was impressed to do higher, and he was quickly churning out premium almond milk, ready-to-drink coffees and barista blends.

He named the brand new firm for Queen Califia, a personality in a Sixteenth-century Spanish novel who turned the spirit of colonial California. Having discovered arduous classes from Odwalla, he insisted on tight high quality management, much less sugar and extra vitamin, and on protecting an impartial ethos. By 2017, Califia’s bottled espresso was No. 1 in the USA.

Greg Andrew Steltenpohl was born on Oct. 20, 1954, in Homestead, Fla. His mom, Benita (Desjardins) Steltenpohl, was a culinary entrepreneur and chef. His father, Jerome, was a civil engineer who moved the household within the Nineteen Fifties to Southern California, the place he labored for protection contractors. Greg grew up within the San Bernardino space.

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