Tealive's parent firm buys 35% stake in WonderBrew to fulfill kombucha ambitions

Tealive's parent firm buys 35% stake in WonderBrew to fulfill kombucha ambitions

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Tealive's parent firm Loob Holding has taken a strategic 35% stake in kombucha (fermented tea) brand WonderBrew as part of its plan to be the largest drinks portfolio company in Southeast Asia. WonderBrew, a home-grown lifestyle beverage brand that specialises in kombucha, is owned by Wonder Group. WonderBrew is available at over 700 locations. This private deal for an undisclosed sum was completed within weeks of the entry of private equity fund Creador into Loob itself with a 30% stake purchase.

WonderBrew founders Joseph Poh (pictured centre) and Loke Boon Eng (pictured right) started the brand on a small scale in 2018, eventually winning over health-conscious consumers with its local flavours. Loob founder and CEO Bryan Loo (pictured left) said this opportunity to take a strategic stake came at the right time as WonderBrew had consistently outperformed general market conditions, with sales having doubled in 2020 and again this year, despite the pandemic lockdown.

“We saw in the WonderBrew founders Poh and Loke, the same flame of entrepreneurship that we have. Our entry is to take it regionally and accelerate its touchpoints for all channels,” said Loo. Besides, he added, there was already a lot of synergy for both teams in research and development of new products, sales and marketing as well as operations. Plans are already afoot to accelerate the touchpoints for kombucha across all channels and to increase production capacity five-fold. 

“The possibilities are exciting as the kombucha category is booming in this region with greater awareness and demand for natural foods and ingredients. Together, we can propel WonderBrew to greater heights in the region where we will drive mass consumption of kombucha across various channels,” said Loo.

Meanwhile, Poh said he was confident that WonderBrew kombucha would now be much more accessible to consumers everywhere leveraging on Loob’s vast experience in the beverage segment. With Loob coming on board as a strategic investor at the right timing, Poh said the company was ready for the next level of growth with a more structured regional expansion plan. Domestically, WonderBrew would also explore collaborative opportunities with Loob’s various brands, especially Tealive.

Other than the physical locations in grocery stores, convenience stores, cafés, bakeries, restaurants, petrol stations, hotels and vending machines, WonderBrew is also available for online delivery via their official website and through GrabFood, Air Asia Food and ShopeeFood.

Separately, Tealive recently partnered with Netcore in Malaysia to drive its business and engage customers more productively, efficiently, and meaningfully. The partnership will be extended to other regions depending on performance and outcome, Tealive's spokesperson told A+M previously. 

"With the Netcore solution, we believe that it will ease our marketing team’s task of segmenting and personalising our omnichannel communications with our customers in a scalable manner. In the long term, there will be an impact on our current dependence on paid and rented media. We expect the cost of advertising to go up in a cookie-less world," the spokesperson explained. 

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