Transformative Utah business leader invests in the skyrocketing beverage company, with Savory Fund and Swig’s founder and partners retaining significant minority stakes
Salt Lake City, UT (RestaurantNews.com) Swig, Home of the Original Dirty Soda, today announced that Utah icon the Larry H. Miller Company (the LHM Company) has acquired a majority stake in Swig from Savory Fund, the leading private equity firm focused on emerging food and beverage concepts. Savory Fund, Swig founder Nicole Tanner, and partners Chase Wardrop and Dylan Roeder will each retain significant minority stakes in the business.
Savory Fund purchased the booming beverage brand in 2018, and in the last two years, it has more than doubled its footprint. Swig, which offers a variety of customized drinks and treats, will reach 46 locations by the end of 2022 — with more than 25 corporate locations scheduled to open in 2023 alone. Newly named CEO Rian McCartan will continue to lead daily operations of the business and execute the explosive growth plan — including additional corporate-owned stores, as well as multi-unit franchising opportunities that were recently launched on November 1, 2022.
As a family-owned business, the LHM Company invests in other family-owned or founder-led companies with world-class management teams and a commitment to enriching the community. Swig meets each of these criteria – making it a banner addition to the LHM family of companies.
“Swig’s founders, and team, including the Savory Fund, have done an amazing job building this fast-growing brand,” said Steve Starks, CEO of the LHM Company. “We love Swig’s growth trajectory, best-in-class customer service, strong employee culture, and commitment to delivering positive guest experiences. We are excited to welcome the Swig team to the LHM Company and are excited to help accelerate its national expansion.”
Gail Miller, Owner of the LHM Company, added, “I am proud to invest in Swig, a business founded by a woman whose approach to community building aligns with ours. Nicole and the team are invested in their leaders and employees, and their values are strongly reflected in their everyday operations.”
“Since we initially invested over four years ago, Swig has become the undisputed leader in this redefined category of customized beverages. The success has been a result of a tremendous partnership with Nicole, Chase, Dylan, and the Swig and Savory Management teams,” said Andrew K. Smith, Managing Partner and co-founder of Savory Fund. “We are excited to welcome the Larry H. Miller Company and look forward to continuing to support Rian McCartan and the rest of the Swig team as they bring this market-defining concept across the country.”
In addition to this investment and beginning in 2023, the Larry H. Miller Company will also begin offering a Swig experience in LHM Megaplex Theatres, which includes both companies accepting refillable Swig tumblers and Megaplex Theatres mugs at the price of the location providing the refill for a limited time.
Philanthropy is a core tenet of both the LHM Company and Swig, and Swig founder Nicole Tanner will remain the official spokesperson for the company’s foundation, Save The Cups. Tanner is a breast cancer survivor herself, and in 2020 she started Save The Cups as a way to give back, spread awareness, and help pay the bills of women fighting the disease. This October, Save The Cups raised a staggering $217,000 for women fighting breast cancer — bringing the foundation’s three-year total to more than $550,000.
“I’ve always known Swig is special. I’ve seen its impact not only in the incredible growth but also in the faces of the customers who come through our drive-thru every day. We have become a part of people’s lives and their hearts,” said Nicole Tanner, who originally founded Swig in St. George in 2010. “Our partnership with Savory transformed Swig’s trajectory. Andrew and Shauna Smith have been vital partners as we’ve scaled, and I’m thrilled they will remain a crucial ally as we join forces with the Larry H. Miller Company. It’s an honor to partner with Gail Miller, her family, and their impeccable team, and I can’t wait to see what our companies accomplish together.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Arlington Capital Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Swig, with Mayer Brown LLP serving as legal advisor to both Swig and Savory Fund.
Swig, Home of the Original Dirty Soda, got its start in 2010 in Saint George, Utah. Owner and Founder Nicole Tanner was brainstorming one night about possible business ideas and came up with the idea for a drive-by customized beverage shop. From that small beginning, Swig has expanded to 45 stores in five states, creating over 11,000,000 customized drinks a year and becoming thousands of people’s go-to destination for drinks and sweets every day.
About Savory Fund
Savory Fund is an innovative private equity firm that combines over $650 million in assets under management with a growth playbook and expertise that has been developed over 15 years of operating in the restaurant industry. Savory partners with high-potential, profitable, emerging restaurant brands, to deliver financial capital, industry expertise, growth and revenue opportunities, profitability enhancements and new location development. The Savory team contributes directly to all aspects of growth and replication by using a proven playbook and methodology. Founder involvement in the expansion of a brand is a central theme of the Savory approach as founders carry the tribal knowledge around the uniqueness that has energized early success and is essential to future growth. The Savory Fund has invested in 10 brands: Swig, R&R BBQ, Pincho, Via 313 Pizzeria, The Crack Shack, Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food, 86 Repairs, Saigon Hustle, Hash Kitchen, and The Sicilian Butcher. For more information, visit SavoryFund.com.
About the Larry H. Miller Company
Headquartered in Sandy, Utah, the Larry H. Miller Company (the LHM Company) is a privately-owned business with operations located mainly across the western United States. As a portfolio of businesses and investments, the LHM Company’s focus falls within the primary categories of real estate, health care, finance, entertainment, sports, investments, as well as philanthropy. For more information about the Larry H. Miller Company, visit www.lhm.com.
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