Can prebiotics and probiotics beverages grow together? Brew Dr. CEO says yes

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Brew Dr.
Image Credit: Brew Dr.

Related tags kombucha Gut health Probiotic functional beverage

Oregon-based organic kombucha brand Brew Dr. is going "a little bit bolder, a little bit bigger" with its new branding and flavors as the company looks to expand household penetration amidst a growing competitive landscape in the functional beverage category, brand CEO Dan Stangler told FoodNavigator-USA.

Brew Dr. began rebranding its kombucha line with design partner Pearl Fisher by asking to consumers what they liked about the product and didn't, Stangler explained. Brew Dr. found consumers "liked the vibes,"​ but said "we were hard to understand,"​ Stangler said. 

The rebranded bottle label addresses this with imagery of "flavor landscapes that were inspired by some of the iconic, old-school travel posters,​" Stangler said. The rebranded look and feel can be seen first with Brew Dr.'s two latest flavors, Strawberry Field and Pineapple Paradise, and the rebrand will roll out across the entire portfolio nationwide this summer, he added.

What you see now is the fruits of 18 months of work together, being very, very careful and thoughtful with the combination of consumers and our design agency partner, and the founder, Matt Thomas, all being very involved in helping to create this new look and feel that we just think is going to tell the story.​”

Is there room for both probiotic, prebiotic beverage to grow?

This rebrand comes at a time of increased interest in gut health, partially spurred by the rise of prebiotic sodas. However, "kombucha is still growing,​" Stangler said, noting that he doesn't see prebiotic sodas and kombuchas at odds with one another. “As a fan of beverage, frankly, I'm excited to see the innovation in the space and what that's doing to give people options that are healthier,​” he said.

I would say about some of the prebiotic sodas, et cetera, is that they're complementary,​” Stangler said. “Prebiotics are fiber; that's good for gut health. Probiotics that you find in fermented beverages like kombucha is the healthy bacteria, and so those things are complementary, and I think that that can be good both for consumers as well as the retail environment.​”

And while prebiotics and probiotics address different aspects of gut health, both markets are poised for growth in the years ahead. Grand View Research expects​ the global yogurt and probiotic drink market to reach $182.96bn by 2030, growing by a 9.7% CAGR from 2022-2030. On the other side, predicts that the global prebiotics market​ will be worth $21.2bn by 2030, growing by a higher 14.9% CAGR between 2022-2030, led by demand for fiber-enhanced food and beverages.

Increasing household penetration

Kombucha’s future growth will come from expanding the consumer base and expanding the occasions that consumers drink the beverage, Stangler said.

The additional thing that we look at with a lot of optimism is the reality that the total household penetration for kombucha has never yet exceeded 20%,​” Stangler said. “We are confident that the kombucha itself can grow and just grow by bringing more people into the category... We are confident that the category should be in at least a third of households based on consumer tastes, preferences, demographics, etc.​”

For the brand, Brew Dr. is "the fastest growing kombucha in the US in both dollars and units,​" Stangler claimed. Brew Dr.'s increases in units sold shows that growth is attributed to increase demand and not inflation, Stangler noted. And as the brand looks to grow even more, Brew Dr. will still be focusing on its traditional kombucha brewing method, he added.

We are brewing our kombucha for consumers that are looking for great taste and real organic ingredients. So, we're proud of the fact that we brew our kombucha the traditional way with tea and sugar and … the scoby,​" Stangler said. "We know that there's a market for it. We know that we've got a lot of fans, and frankly, we're really encouraged by the performance and the response to the brand.​”

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