Kirin’s Lion buys Teza Iced Teas to grow non-alcoholic portfolio

Kirin’s Australasian unit Lion has acquired New Zealand brand Teza Iced Teas in a move to grow its non-alcoholic beverage portfolio.

Sitting alongside Lion New Zealand’s brands Höpt soda and Mac’s soft drinks, Teza will join the firm’s non-alcoholic division Drinks Collective, which earlier this month announced a strategic partnership with flavoured sparking water start-up Vista.

Founded by Greenstone Drinks Company, Teza Iced Tea is made with organic leaf tea, fruit juices and botanicals. The brand offers flavours such as feijoa and lime blossom, lemon and mandarin, and peach and passionflower

Drinks Collective general manager Stefan Gray said: “The iced tea market is in strong growth globally so we’re incredibly excited to welcome Teza Iced Teas into the Drinks Collective. The brand’s premium offering complements our existing range nicely and will help us deliver greater choice and convenience for consumers across more social occasions. We’ll be leveraging our networks to make the brand more readily available nationwide.”

He added: “I think typically people associate Lion with alcohol products and don’t realise what an amazing non-alcoholic beverage offering we have – from coffee and juices to low-sugar sodas and kombucha. We have big plans to grow the Drinks Collective as part of our commitment to meeting the evolving world of sociability and by 2025 at least 10% of Lion’s sales will come from our non-alcoholic range.”

Lion’s Drinks Collective will take full control of the Teza brand and associated assets, with the founders, Joe Gehrke and Daphne Raj, now living in Australia where they are focused on growing Greenstone Drinks Company. They will still be involved in the brand via an agreement which will see them distribute Teza for Lion in the Australian market through Greenstone.

Teza founder Joe Gehrke said: “We created Teza when we moved home from our stint in the UK. We noticed a real gap in the market for a premium, more natural iced tea offering and are proud of the growth we’ve achieved for the brand so far, including Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

“We’re thrilled to pass the Teza brand on to Lion, who has a proven track record of nurturing and growing strong brands in the Kiwi market. Under Lion, Teza can be taken to the next level.”

Last week, Lion acquired a 50% stake in Australian brand Four Pillars Gin, marking its first foray into the craft spirits segment.

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