Jim Tonkin

Jim Tonkin

Operating Partner

James S. Tonkin, a 37 year veteran, is a private sector brand marketing and beverage development professional who has designed and implemented national infrastructure for his clients in the food and beverage industry. Tonkin has successfully created and implemented business and financial strategies for domestic and international firms focusing on: production and manufacturing; branding; sales; marketing; and distribution. In the last 15 years, Tonkin has promoted brand and marketing programs for many clients in the bottled water and functional food/beverage industries. His expertise spans the gamut from domestic cheese to potato chips, fortified pet waters to nutraceutical- functional and enhanced beverages.

Tonkin is a frequent industry speaker often heralded as ‘the beverage expert or guru’ in the functional and nutraceutical beverage segment.  Speaking engagements have included serving as keynote speaker at the Australian Beverage Summit- Melbourne Australia, Global Bottled Water Congress-Mexico City, International Dairy Congress- Athens,  many presentations at WorldNutra Conferences where he sat as an Advisory Board Member, as well as Nutracon and Natural Products Expos East and West and Healthy Foods Conferences.  He leads panels at Focus on the Future Forums and Supplyside East and West for Virgo Publishing.  Bringing his characteristic blunt but heady wit and “take no prisoners” unabashed style of industry spin, Tonkin’s enthusiasm and heartfelt passion for the industry includes commentary on the state of the beverage industry, new trends, new products, innovation and future prognostication.


Tonkin’s zeal for the beverage industry began early in his career serving as Vice President and General Manager of a West Coast 7–Up Bottler where he produced, marketed and distributed carbonated soft drink brands including 7-UP, A&W Root Beer, Crush and Clearly Canadian. Tonkin then successfully pioneered both a domestic cheese production-distribution facility in northern California and a snack chip company known as Buffalo Chips. Turning his interest back to healthier beverages, he became V.P. Marketing and Sales for the first ‘new age’ beverage in the U.S in 1983- Napa Naturals, which innovatively married natural white grape juice, natural flavoring and sparkling mineral water from Calistoga CA.

Starting a private consultancy in 1986, Tonkin focused on what he knows best – brand management, sales and marketing.  His industry expertise and innovative style provided the opportunity to work as “outsource CEO” to many companies over his consulting career including Essentia Water, a nationally recognized structured water, Bio Essentials an innovative glucosamine beverage for joint health and BrainSavers, purporting a new ‘Tri-Component Program’ of nutrition-cognition-physical exercise to our aging population through an eight week enhancement protocol.

One of Tonkin’s co-creations included Hound Hydrators Pet Water for PETsMART. Another was SmartSnackÔ, a wellness product-marketing company wholesaling only healthy snack foods and beverage sold in vending machines.  Working with many start up and innovative companies trying to break-through the ‘cloud deck’ is what Tonkin truly enjoys.  He helps to find and develop management teams, builds broker networks, design sales strategies for distributors and retailers alike, and works towards exit strategies to sell/merge smaller companies with strategic partners, industry giants or venture firms.  He has success in raising capital and determining the correct source of capital for each venture~

Tonkin is also linked to Outsource International, a corporate and project development firm comprised of current and former CEO’s, other top executives, legal and investment professionals who provide technology-transfer, business acceleration, project development, philanthropic and consumer products consulting services to its clients, worldwide.


Tonkin has created products from domestic cheese to potato chips, pet waters to nutraceutical enhanced beverages for both industry veterans and smaller emerging companies: 

24C, Antioxidant powder formula- sold it to Jones Soda Co.
Aloe Splash Inc., Aloe Breeze, first RTD Aloe Vera Drink
American Beverage Control, portion control for liquor
Anheuser-Busch Inc., consultant for new RTD initiatives
Arnold Palmer TEE®- IFLLC, owners of RTD/dairy drink
Bio Essentials, Motion Potion-Glucosamine RTD Drink
BrainSavers, LLC, Tri-Component Cognitive Health Programs
Canadian Natural Glacier Water, bottled water brand
Celsius Inc., distribution consultant for calorie burning RTD
Dignified Living, product/services for disabled/seniors
Dr. Andrew Weil, Weil Lifestyles-licensing consultant
Electronic Dispensers International, bar dispensing equip
E-MOO, carbonated diary drink for kids
Essentia Water, Inc., bottled water for natural foods
Fiji Natural Artesian Water Natural Waters of Viti Ltd.,
Geyser Products LLC, enhanced/flavored bottled water
Global Water Technologies, clean water technology
GTOX- detoxifying RTD with Glucarate
Hawaiian Natural Water Company, bottled water from HI
Herbn TonicsÔ, first herbal aphrodisiac RTD beverage
Icelandic Water Holdings, Ehf, Icelandic bottled water
Logic Nutrition, Glucosamine/Chondroitin RTD beverages
PETsMART, shareables bottled water for pets/humans
POKKA Corporation, Japan, USA, Japanese RTD drinks
Polyphenolics Inc, division of Constellation Wines RTD’s
Portola Packaging, Fusion Cap Technology for beverages
POW Innovations, makers of the Builder Bottle, kids blocks
Scientific Foods Solutions, RTD Aqua-Lyte hydration Water
Seven-Up Company of So.CA, Avalon Brokerage
SmartSnackÔ, first vending machines w/healthy products
Stroh’s Brewery, managed transition from 3/2 tier distribution
Sun Orchard Inc., board member/product development
Vital Foods- New Zealand Kiwi RTD product
Wellements Inc., wellness products, beverages, snacks
XS Energy- MLM energy drinks brand
Zico Water LLC- antioxidant rich coconut water
ZT Rooibos Red Tea- RTD line of rooibos teas


Board of Advisors- Zico Water- Packaged Coconut Water 2008
Board of Advisors- Innovative Beverage Technologies 2008
Speaker and Host, IQPC- FoodBev-Exchange. Nov. 03
Speaker and Chair, Forums for ACI March 02, June 03
Member, International Bottled Water Association 2004
President- Eastwood Homeowners Association 2002-2004
Director, Board of Governors- Safeway International LPGA Tournament ’97-’04 Past Chairman,
Member, Arizona Golf Association
United States Golf Association since 1990
International Past President Active 20-30 Club 1984
Banner Health- Golf Council Board Member 1999-2008
National Nutritional Foods Association Member 1998-2007
Arthritis Foundation N. CA. Past Board Member 1989-1991
Past Board Member Point West Rotary International, 1988
Past Board President, N. CA. Cerebral Palsy Assn 1980-85
Past Board Member United Cerebral Palsy Assn.1973-1982