Coke Eyes Overseas Market for Australian Kombucha It Just Bought

(Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Co.’s acquisition of an Australian kombucha maker means the down-under brand could soon land on grocery shelves around the globe.

The drink giant said it bought Organic & Raw Trading Co., a local brewer of the fermented tea, for undisclosed terms. Coke will initially look to expand distribution of the MOJO kombucha line in Australia, but its longer-term vision is grander.

“The immediate focus is to grow the Australian domestic market, but as kombucha takes off globally, we will continually reassess,” said Coca-Cola Australia spokesman Adam Bell. “For example, as of last week we are now selling in Singapore and we hope to grow there.”

The deal comes as Coca-Cola continues to diversify beyond its core soft-drinks business into new categories, including health beverages. The company, with its iconic brands ranging from Coke and Sprite to Powerade, announced last month it will acquire the Costa Coffee chain for $5.1 billion, and has expanded into other products including juice, tea and mineral water over the past decade. It’s even eyeing the cannabis drinks market as soda demand in its home market continues to sink.

Although Coke has made investments in beverage startups that make kombucha before, the deal marks the first time the company has added the fizzy, probiotic drink directly to its portfolio. Many Coke products available globally, such as Coke Plus Coffee and Coca-Cola Ginger, got their start in the Australian market.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.