California-based kombucha maker Revive is testing a new four-SKU shelf-stable sparkling kombucha line in 12 oz. cans, as part of what the brand called a refocusing on its core mission of replacing carbonated soft drinks.
Speaking with BevNET yesterday, Revive founder and CEO Sean Lovett said making the jump from 12 oz. refrigerated glass bottles to shelf-stable cans had been one of the company’s long-term goals. He noted the format opens up new possibilities in flavors, route to market, use occasion and audience, all of which position it as a product that can take on soda.
The canned line differs from Revive’s refrigerated product in more than just packaging. The line features lower sugar (5 g) and calories (20 g), with Lovett noting the four flavors — Cherry Hibiscus, Citrus Ginger, Mango Orange and Strawberry Lemon — were developed specifically with a lighter, more refreshing drinking experience in mind.
“It’s a different experience than our traditional raw line, and we wanted to call that out in some way,” he said, comparing it to a sparkling water with health benefits. “We are seeing some folks that drink a couple of these per day as opposed to one [raw] kombucha. It is that lighter experience that we wanted to highlight.”
To create the line, Lovett said Revive “had to start from ground zero.” The company developed both proprietary equipment and a proprietary production process that could maintain flavor after pasteurization. The product also uses DE111, a probiotic strain that becomes active after digestion, and delivers a similar functionality as the brand’s raw kombucha.
The line is currently in limited distribution in the Bay Area, where it is available via online retailer GoodEggs and at Oliver’s Market locations. Single-serve 12 oz. cans have a suggested retail price of $2.99 and 4-packs are priced at $11.99. The product will be introduced to the public during Natural Products Expo West this week in Anaheim, Calif.
Beyond flavor and use occasion, the canned line gives Revive the chance to take previously unavailable routes to market. Whereas the brand’s refrigerated line is distributed in California via Cold Craft — the cold-chain system run by its majority stakeholder, Peet’s Coffee — the shelf-stable product could potentially leverage Peet’s relationship with Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), which last year partnered with the coffee maker to distribute its ambient RTD espresso line. Lovett declined to discuss specifics; “You can assume through that there will be some innovation around route-to-market,” he said.
Lovett said the company is still gathering initial consumer data and feedback from its current availability ahead of a broader launch. However, Revive VP of marketing Josh Mohr, who joined the company last June after tenures at CytoSport and Red Bull, said the product is already enhancing the brand in-store.
“As a beverage brand marketer, the most exciting thing with this item is building an in-store display off-shelf,” he said. “It allows us to be able to take our product anywhere in the store, and that’s where people discover products. That’s the moment here that’s the true unlock. A lot of people are going to be able to see this dynamic display and hopefully come into the category through Revive.”