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Forward Consumer Partners Acquires Firehook Bakery

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Positions Enduring Brand For Continued Success

CHANTILLY, Va. & GREENWICH, Conn., April 17, 2024-- Forward Consumer Partners (“Forward” or the “Firm”), a private investment firm focused on branded consumer businesses, today announced that it has acquired Firehook Bakery (“Firehook” or the “Company”), a fast-growing artisan baking business built on an unwavering commitment to quality. Pierre Abushacra, Firehook’s founder, will retain a significant minority ownership stake in the Company going forward.

Firehook was founded in 1992 in Alexandria, Virginia as a neighborhood bakery specializing in organic sourdough breads and simply-made baked goods. The Company’s name was inspired by a tool dating back thousands of years to the first-known bakers, who used a hook-shaped implement to pull their creations out of clay pots in sunken fire pits. Fueled by its local success, Firehook expanded nationally, guided by a commitment to its team of bakers and its loyal customers.

Firehook has grown at a 50% CAGR over the past decade to become the #1 brand of artisanal crackers in the U.S., and its small-batch offerings deliver exceptional crunch, simple ingredients, and distinctive flavors. Firehook bakes all of its products in-house and is proudly Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, and SQF Certified.

“In identifying a partner to shepherd Firehook’s next phase of growth, it was essential to find a team who could support our mission of continuing to build an exceptional business rooted in quality and transparency,” said Mr. Abushacra. “Forward shares our vision and, most importantly, our values. Their track record of helping grow iconic consumer brands makes the Firm an ideal partner as we continue to propel our business forward.”

Concurrent with the closing, Firehook is also pleased to announce that Maura Mottolese has become Firehook’s new Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Mottolese has built a distinguished career in the food and beverage industry, most notably serving as CEO of Cholula and CEO of Tate’s Bake Shop, among many other successful roles. Ms. Mottolese remarked: “It is a true privilege to join a business with such a rare combination of existing success and future opportunity. I look forward to building on the strong foundation that Pierre and team have created as we strengthen the Firehook brand, expand the Company’s capabilities, and grow its loyal base of consumers.” Also at closing, Firehook has expanded its executive team with the additions of Terry Bigham (formerly of Cholula, Tate’s Bake Shop, and Carbone) as Chief Growth Officer and Ellen Howse (formerly of Godiva, Hello Products, and Dewey’s Bakery) as Chief Marketing Officer.

Firehook marks the first acquisition from Forward’s $425 million Fund I, which was oversubscribed and closed at its hard cap in December 2023. Matt Leeds, Forward’s Founder and Managing Partner, has become Chairman of Firehook. He remarked: “We could not be more excited to partner with Pierre and the talented individuals who comprise the Firehook team. We are grateful to have pursued this unique opportunity on a fully proprietary basis, and are honored to be entrusted with the next chapter in Firehook’s journey.”

Firehook was advised by Novelty Hill Capital and Stein Sperling. Forward was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Kirkland & Ellis.

About Firehook Bakery

Founded in 1992, Firehook is an artisan baking business built on an unwavering commitment to quality. As the #1 brand of artisanal crackers in the U.S., Firehook is beloved for its small-batch offerings which deliver exceptional crunch, simple ingredients, and distinctive flavors. Firehook bakes all of its products in-house and is proudly Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, and SQF Certified. For more information, please visit firehook.com.

About Forward Consumer Partners

Forward is a private investment firm focused on powerful brands that make beloved products. The Firm was created to help build enduring consumer businesses, providing each portfolio company with the partnership, resources, experience, and ambition to make progress toward its potential. Forward currently manages $425 million of committed capital through its debut fund, which closed in December 2023. For more information, please visit forwardconsumer.com.

Contact:
Media:
press@forwardconsumer.com

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