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Coke eyes overseas markets for Australian kombucha maker

Tokyo

COCA-COLA Co's acquisition of an Australian kombucha maker means the Down-Under brand could soon land on grocery shelves globally.

The drink giant said it bought Organic & Raw Trading Co, a local brewer of the fermented tea, for undisclosed terms.

Coke will look to expand distribution of the MOJO kombucha line in Australia, but has a grander long-term vision. Coca-Cola Australia spokesman Adam Bell said: "The immediate focus is the Australian market, but as kombucha takes off globally, we will continually reassess. We started selling in Singapore last week and hope to grow there."

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The deal comes as Coca-Cola diverisifies beyond its core soft-drinks business into new categories, including health beverages. Kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, sweetened black or green tea touted for its supposed health benefits.

Coca-Cola, said last month it will buy the Costa Coffee chain for US$5.1 billion; it has also expanded into products such as juices, teas and mineral water over the past decade. It is also eyeing the cannabis drinks market as soda demand in its home market continues falling.

Although Coke has invested in beverage startups that make kombucha before, this deal marks the first time the company has added the drink directly to its portfolio. BLOOMBERG