Pretzilla sold to Benestar Brands, Highlander Partners

Milwaukee-based Miller Baking Co., the maker of the Pretzilla brand, has been acquired by Benestar Brands, a portfolio of Dallas-based private investment firm Highlander Partners L.P.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

A family-owned business since 1923, Miller Baking launched the Pretzilla brand in 2010. In 2018, the company said it would focus exclusively on the Pretzilla brand and shut down its local fresh bakery product operations.

“This is an exciting time for Pretzilla,” said Brian Miller, founder of the Pretzilla brand. “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.”

Miller plans to stay with the company to help the new owners grow the Pretzilla brand. He said in an email that there are no changes planed for local operations and Benestar and Highlander are excited to invest in all aspects of the brand.

North Carolina-based Benestar’s other brands include Mac’s, Cazo de Oro, Turkey Creek, PÖRQ and Chicas Chips. The company has six production facilities in North America, including in Chicago, Arlington, Texas, Portsmouth, Ohio, City of Industry, California, Thomaston, Georgia and Saltillo, Mexico. Another production facility will open in Kings Mountain, North Carolina in 2021.

Carl Lee Jr., chief executive officer of Benestar, said 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,” Lee said. “With Benestar’s retail relationships and penchant for product innovation, we think there is an incredible opportunity to take Pretzilla to the next level.”

Jeff Hull, president and CEO of Highlander Partners, said Benestar has been targeting acquisitions and investments in exciting, innovative brands with strong growth potential in the snacking category.

“Pretzilla fits these criteria perfectly,” Hull said. “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.”

Arthur Thomas, BizTimes

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