In just over eight years, Organic & Raw went from selling MOJO at a local farmers’ market to producing one of Australia’s leading organic kombucha brands – a success that led to the company being purchased by Coca-Cola in 2018. How did they do it? Here’s a look at their story and how Accru Harris Orchard played a role in their success.
Anthony and Sarah Crabb started Organic & Raw in 2009, along with Steve and Petra Kirkby, and Terry and Carol Crabb, after several years of experimentation making kombucha in their shed in Adelaide. Their first sales of the MOJO brand of naturally fermented, live culture, organic kombucha drinks were at farmers’ markets and in health food shops.
Rapid growth followed, helped by soaring popularity of the drink, which is made from naturally fermented tea and provides a low-sugar alternative to soft drinks. In fact, kombucha is now the fastest-growing beverage category in Australia.
MOJO drinks are now stocked nationwide in major retailers including Woolworths and Coles. “When we started out,” Anthony says, “we couldn’t have imagined the incredible growth and consumer demand we see today.”
Keys to success
The time was certainly right for this product. Anthony and Sarah recognised and seized upon a need in the marketplace, but they also took a direct, hands-on approach to the business throughout the journey.
In addition, the company invested heavily in testing and obtaining organic certifications along the way. They held to their initial, unwavering commitment to produce a high-quality product without cutting corners.
A great partnership
Accru Harris Orchard worked with Organic & Raw from the very beginning, offering accounting assistance and bookkeeping training in the early days and then providing support for the internal finance team as the business grew.
However, the rapid growth of the company caught the attention not only of consumers, but of major producers as well: In September 2018, the Coca-Cola Company acquired MOJO in a multimillion-dollar sale, marking it the first time the U.S. company had acquired full ownership of a brand in the kombucha tea market.
Accru Harris Orchard managed the entire transaction (the biggest in its history). We offered a comprehensive range of support both prior to and during the sale, including assistance with costing the selling price of the product, restructuring to better safeguard the company and its assets, and management of both financial and non-finanical aspects of the sale to Coca-Cola, including the flow of data to the purchaser.
“Our rapid growth and ultimate sale to Coca-Cola presented many challenges, but Accru Harris Orchard was with us every step of the way,” says Anthony.
Coca-Cola’s reach has already introduced more consumers to MOJO’s products, which continue to be made in Willunga, near South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region.
“Our goal is to bring MOJO to more Australians by making it available in more places across the country,” he says. “Coca-Cola is a total beverage company with massive intellectual capital. We have already learned a lot about consumer trends and marketing innovation, and Coca-Cola has benefited from MOJO’s unique understanding of fermentation and what it takes to build great tasting brewed beverages.”
New MOJO varieties are continuously being developed, all using real, organic ingredients and are currently sold in over 4,000 outlets nationwide.