Molson Coors has branched out and acquired Clearly Kombucha. The California-based manufacturer of the fermented tea beverage has joined the Molson Coors US business, MillersCoors. Ali Zarrow and Caleb Cargle, who started Clearly Kombucha as Stanford University students in 2009, plan to stay with the company after the deal closes. Their company will work as a part of MillerCoors craft and specialty unit called Tenth and Blake.
“Molson Coors, Miller Coors and Tenth and Blake are ideally suited to help Clearly Kombucha grow in the years ahead by driving greater awareness, strengthening its brand reputation and boosting retail availability,” Pete Marino, President of Tenth and Blake said.
This isn’t the first time Coors has looked for potential investments. Last year the company also took a minority stake in a Colorado company that makes ready-to-drink chai tea called Bhakti. It’s not surprising the company is trying to branch out considering Molson Coors has been experiencing a decline in beer sales. Sales of their Coors Light beer fell 4.1 percent in 2017 and sales of the whole MillerCoors lineup of products fell 25 percent last year. Brewers seem to have no other choice but to branch out into other categories since most of the US beer industry has been affected by a drop in sales.
“If you could go back in a time machine you would say, ‘Shoot, I wish back then that we had started to follow those trends that were growing,’ …but we recognize it now and we’re fixing it,” vice president of Miller Brands at MillerCoors Greg Butler told Food Dive.
Molson Coors isn’t the only company which has branched out after acknowledging the trend. Last summer AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch bought natural energy drink and organic soda manufacturer, Hiball. They also partnered with Starbucks for a line of ready-to-drink Teavana products. In fact, the beer company makes, bottles and distributes those products. PepsiCo also bought kombucha and vinegar tonics maker, Kevita in 2016.
In addition to these companies, Peet’s Coffee participated in the 7.5 million funding round for Revive Kombucha. It’s predicted that the global kombucha market will hit $1.8 billion by 2020. More than 90 percent of kombucha’s products are organic. This is in their favor because consumers are gravitating towards probiotic and healthier beverages. These seem to be particularly popular with millennials who are said to be more interested in better-for-you foods. Clearly Kombucha falls right into their interests by being gluten free, vegan and non-GMO.
Clearly Kambucha stated in a Facebook post that the deal with Molson Coors will allow their brand to grow. This might not be the last acquisition for Coors, as their spokesmen told BevNet the company will continue to look for investment opportunities.