- Brew Dr. Kombucha is packaging its product in cans that will be available at Whole Foods stores nationwide, according to Beverage Industry. The kombucha, the first to be introduced in cans, is available in four flavors: Clear Mind, Love, Mint Lemonade and Ginger Turmeric.
“Our new packaging makes it convenient to bring your favorite drink to the beach, festivals, parks, mountains, hiking, and everywhere we like to go," Matt Thomas, founder and chief executive officer of Brew Dr. Kombucha, said in a statement cited by the beverage publication. "Aluminum cans are more readily and frequently recycled, not to mention easier for consumers of all ages to enjoy.”
Brew Dr.’s canned varieties are available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans that retail for a suggested retail price of $11.99.
Walk into almost any grocery or health foods store and you’re bound to see a bottle of kombucha in the cold section. In fact, Errol Schweizer, executive global grocery coordinator for Whole Foods, told Forbes that kombucha occupies up to one-third of the refrigerated functional-beverage shelf space in its stores.
People are gravitating toward the fermented tea drink known for its health benefits, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. The global kombucha market is projected to hit $1.8 billion by 2020.
With a saturated market, companies need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the masses. One method is to become acquired by legacy brands who wants to take advantage of a millennial market dedicated to probiotic consumption. PepsiCo acquired sparkling probiotics beverage maker KeVita in 2016 and Peet’s Coffee was part of a $7.5-million Series B round of funding for Revive Kombucha last August.
Another way is to make a brand look different. Although Brew Dr. Kombucha is already in Whole Foods stores nationwide, its choice to sell a canned version of its product is a unique marketing move that not only makes the drink look different, but it sets it up to be taken to a bigger swath of venues. In places such as beaches, festivals and bars where cans are either mandatory or preferred, this Oregon-based brew will have a leg up on its competitors. On the other hand, the inability to reseal cans may cause the brand to lose some fans who are fond of sipping on their kombucha throughout the day rather than drinking 12 ounces in one sitting.
In addition, while kombucha is customarily distributed in glass, Brew Dr. runs the risk of lowering its prestige by becoming a canned beverage which is normally associated with cheap beer, soda and high-sugar energy drinks. The fact that the company is not one of the major players in the industry may make it harder to convince consumers to trade in their glass bottles for a canned version because they are already unfamiliar with the quality the brand produces. Glass also provides another level of transparency that a can simply doesn't offer.
Still, because kombucha appeals to millennials who are prone to snacking in-between meals and are continuously searching for better-for-you foods and drinks that focus on gut health and food as medicine, Brew Dr. may stand a chance. Aluminum cans, when used in large volumes, is generally cheaper than glass, for both production and shipping. This new packaging may become economically beneficial to on-the-go consumers who are looking for a cheap and healthy drink to tide them over. Plus, having a more commonly recycled material — about 55% of aluminum cans are currently being recycled compared to only 34% of glass containers — will help the brand appeal to the ethos of environmentally and sustainability conscious consumers.
While it remains to be seen how successful this canned kombucha will be in the long run, the good news for Brew Dr. is that there is such high interest in the beverage as a whole that there is a good chance that people will pick the can up off the shelves to at least give it a try.