Asahi Beverages has acquired rapidly growing Australian premium beverage company StrangeLove.
The adult soft drink, premium mixer and mineral water business was founded in Byron Bay in 2013 by James Bruce and Stafford Fox, who set out to revolutionise the Australian soft drink market with eclectic, sophisticated flavours and local ingredients.
With products such as Tonic No. 8, Lo-Cal Yuzu, Double Ginger and a range of premium Sparkling Waters, it has more than doubled in volume and revenue in the last two years to become one of Australia’s fastest-growing beverages companies.
Asahi Beverages’ investment in the adult soft drinks and premium mixers market comes as consumers increasingly prefer better-for-you beverages. These categories are driving growth in Australia’s $2.8 billion soft drink market (groceries & convenience), with premium mixer sales increasing 40% in the past three years and adult soft drink sales up 65%.
Asahi Beverages Group CEO Robert Iervasi (above, right) said: “It is clear Australians want more sophisticated and lower-sugar soft drinks, which has fuelled demand for StrangeLove’s amazing products in recent years.
“We are really excited about the impact that StrangeLove is going to have in restaurants, cafes, hotels and pubs. We expect StrangeLove to really shake things-up in the on-premise premium mixer and adult soft drink space, with a high-quality, Australian-made brand.
“This deal will also strengthen our offer to retailers, which are dedicating more shelf-space to premium non-alcohol beverages. StrangeLove complements our leading portfolio of beverages and we are absolutely thrilled to add StrangeLove to the Asahi Beverages family.
“Asahi Beverages is committed to expanding our leading multi-beverage alcohol and non-alcohol portfolio in Oceania as we continue to invest significantly in jobs, new products and manufacturing.”
StrangeLove co-founder James Bruce said: “It has been an incredible nine years on our own. However, this deal represents an amazing opportunity to speed up StrangeLove’s mission to revolutionise the adult soft drink market with more imaginative and high-quality beverages.
“With their FMCG-expertise and long-standing customer relationships in retail, hospitality and beyond, Asahi Beverages will help grow StrangeLove in a way we couldn’t on our own. They share our absolute commitment to quality and we’ve been impressed by how they’ve supported their other craft partners to retain their unique identity and foster innovation.
“The StrangeLove management team and I will remain in our roles at the business, and we’re excited and committed to its long-term growth. This means the acquisition won’t affect day-to-day operations and nothing will change for our customers and consumers. We’ll continue to challenge the status quo with imaginative, innovative and adult flavours, using real
ingredients sourced, where possible, from local farmers and producers.”