SoBe has denied reports that Pepsi is about to take over distribution from its 300-plus independent distributors.

It has been reported (Brandweek) that SoBe independents are in danger of losing the brand to PepsiCo bottlers as soon as May. This is despite being told by SoBe only months ago that the brand was safe.

Senior vice president at SoBe, Howard Wishner told "They are not terminating everyone's contract. It is on a one by one, area by area discussion and it is all being done based on selling existing voids."

Industry experts have said they are not surprised by the news. But one SoBe distributor told Brandweek, "it is all going to end up in the courts. I would not want to be in a position where I promised 300 distributors that they would not lose the brand."

Tom Schwalm at SoBe told "We are going to Pepsi distributors where we have no distribution or where the distribution is weak."

He added: "We are not making any total switch to Pepsi."