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Jax-Based Swisher Looks For New Opportunities With Its Matchbook Capital

Swisher's manufacturing plant at 459 E. 16th Street in Jacksonville is pictured.
Swisher.com
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Swisher's manufacturing plant at 459 E. 16th Street in Jacksonville is pictured.

Swisher, the Jacksonville-based company best known for its Swisher Sweets cigars, has announced a new initiative to fund experiential and emerging brands in adult lifestyle product categories.

The company announced the formation of Matchbook Capital Thursday, which will be led by Zack Crafton, who also serves as?Vice President of Swisher's Innovation Platform.

Crafton has built companies in industries such as cannabis, wine, and beer; as well as held board and advisory roles in the for-profit and not-for-profit spaces.?

"Swisher has grown into the collection of iconic brands?it is today by?fueling an endless quest to uncover fresh ideas, innovative technologies, quality products and the people behind them," said Crafton in a news release.?"Matchbook Capital?will continue that tradition by making significant investments of capital and resources into new categories to build a robust portfolio of products for adult consumers."

In addition to cigars, Swisher also makes tobacco snuff, hemp rolling paper and smokeless nicotine products.

In its announcement, Swisher said Matchbook Capital will be exploring more cannabinoid products. It will also be looking to come up with more innovative packaging for its products and “entrepreneurs building platforms to capture large audiences, create rich experiences and generally fuel the social interactions that make us human.”

Matchbook Capital will be investing in or acquiring companies that are in the test, build, or scaling stages of growth. "Given the climate of disruption from which the country is emerging, now is the time to find and fund the next big idea," said Crafton.

Swisher cited its extensive list of retail partners as one of its advantages for going after new products with Matchbook Capital.

"We have more than 250,000 distribution points and invest with cash," Crafton said, adding: "As a former entrepreneur, I know how exciting this value proposition is for new brands seeking rapid growth.”

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.