Wednesday, May 29, 2024

From rok to rolling out functional faves

The Local Drinks Co (formerly The Margaret River Kombucha Co) was established in 2016. It began as an authentic kombucha brewery handcrafted by winemakers in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, where it established the kombucha brand rok.

“Rok Kombucha continues to be one of the only authentic kombucha brands on the market,” says founder and Managing Director Amanda Carroll, emphasising the brand’s commitment to using the highest quality ingredients.

“We rode the kombucha category explosion, which grew 700% in two years, and have now watched the category stabilise.”

Realising it needed to expand its offering, The Local Drinks Co released rok+ (a functional beverage range containing clinically backed nutraceuticals, nootropics and adaptogens) in 2021.

A new brand, Waves & Caves, was launched in March 2022, introducing an all-natural, lo-calorie, handcrafted soda range with no preservatives, artificial colours or artificial flavours. The range will expand to include two all-natural, premium tonic waters this month.

“We wanted to re-create your favourite sodas that are full of flavour but contain no nasties,” says Ms Carroll.

The company rebranded to The Local Drinks Co in late 2021 to coincide with the launch of the new products.

“The move was a pivot to expand our range and hit the more ‘mainstream’ soft drink and mixer channels while continuing to grow our offering in the functional beverage category under the rok brand,” says Ms Carroll.

She adds that consumers increasingly are looking to support Australian made products and actively seeking them out.

“Retailers need to give Australian small businesses a chance to prove this,” says Ms Carroll. “It’s often difficult when you’re competing against large, internationally owned beverage companies, as we just don’t have the power, but if we’re given the chance to get on the shelf, we can prove that locally made products have their place in the market.”

Read more about The Local Drinks Co in the June issue of Retail World.

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