A ‘no sugar’ probiotic soft drink developed by Melbourne-based Gen U Brands and backed by Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has secured a deal to roll out nationally with supermarket giant Coles (ASX: COL) over the next month.
From today, four of ALIVE’s flavours have hit the shelves in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, with the remaining states and territories to see the product available from late May.
Speaking with Business News Australia, Gen U Brands CEO Andrew Blew said the partnership is an exciting development for the brand, which he hopes will go global later this year.
“We’re grateful for the partnership with Coles because they've got the same vision us - they want to help consumers of soft drinks have a much better option and feel that they don't have to walk away from the category,” he said.
“ALIVE is uniquely positioned in that we feel that it can play a strong role in disrupting the soft drink market in Australia and we also get a lot of interest from overseas - that's probably the bit that excites us.
“We've got some strong brands locally, but this one seems to have the capability to go international. The Middle East is one and potentially into China - both early in the second half of this year.”
ALIVE, which is manufactured in Melbourne, is part of Gen U Brand’s small stable that includes Tilley’s frozen desserts, Cremorne Creamery ice creams and St Clair Artisan Crackers, all of which are Australian made.
The zero-sugar drink currently has five of eight flavours available on the market, including blood orange & passionfruit, ginger, lemon lime bitters, lemonade and pink grapefruit.
According to Blew, the three remaining flavours, which he preferred to keep under wraps, will be launched in the second half of 2023.
He also noted ALIVE has been in talks with Woolworths (ASX: WOW) to have its drinks stocked in the 1,000-store grocery chain – an opportunity the CEO is still open to chasing.
“We're definitely still pursuing it. At the moment, we're concentrating on doing something in a big way with Coles because they reached out to us to say: the platform suits what we want to do with the soft drink aisle,” Blew said.
He also noted that the majority of the brand’s revenue currently comes from its relationships with outlets like IGA and Coles Express.
However, Blew is confident that will change as the brand makes its debut in Coles supermarkets.
“We're in 350 to 400 independent stores - that's where most of the revenue comes at the moment. It will be overtaken by Coles,” he said.
“We also sell direct-to-consumer ourselves off our website. We've [also] got online platforms Hits Different and iPantry – they both help service our brand and are quite new online players.”
When asked about where he would like the brand to go next, Blew added that ALIVE will also aim to take advantage of markets where Kyrgios will be playing tennis in 2023.
“With Nick being an international sports star, when he talks about the drink it attracts people in other markets,” Blew explained.
“Nick’s passionate about helping people have a better solution for soft drinks. That's why we're this brand exists. Given he'll be playing tennis in Europe and the US later in the year, we obviously want to build awareness of the brand and the product.
“Nick will be able to help do that - then we can leverage that opportunity to get into those markets."
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