Auckland-based brewing giant Lion has acquired iced tea company Teza for an undisclosed amount.
Teza, which was founded by Greenstone Drinks Company, will join Lion's growing portfolio of non-alcoholic drinks, which includes GoodBuzz Kombucha, Mac's Soda and Hopt, along with sparkling water start-up Vista which it last month announced a sales and merchandising partnership with.
Along with Vista, Lion will leverage its network to push out Teza to make it more readily available nationwide. It will also reinstate Teza's 'grassy tea bush van' as a means of marketing.
The deal is part of Lion's strategy to move away from a sole focus on alcohol.
Stefan Gray, general manager of Lion's non-alcoholic division Drinks Collective, said the acquisition was a good fit for the brand.
He would not disclose how much the company purchased Teza for but said the deal was part of Lion's drive to acquire more non-alcoholic brands.
"We're looking to continually expand our portfolio and work with like-minded drinks companies. The Drinks Collective has been around within Lion for the last four years and our strategy is to continue to extend outside of alcohol," Gray said.
"We see [non-alcoholic drinks] as a really important part of our strategy moving forward."
Gray said the iced tea category was experiencing strong growth in itself.
Lion sees "massive" potential for growth in the soft drink and non-alcoholic drinks category. The company wants to grow its non-alcoholic drinks sales to be at least 10 per cent of total revenue by 2025.
Teza was founded around 10 years ago by Joe Gehrke and Daphne Raj, the owners of Greenstone Drinks Company, based in Australia. The company has drinks ranges in Australia but Teza was the only brand operating in the New Zealand market.
Lion will now take full control of the Teza brand assets and will take over the distribution. Production will continue in the same Auckland factory.
Gehrke has signed a licenced distribution agreement with Lion to push the brand out to Korea, Japan, China and other countries throughout South East Asia.
Gehrke said he was proud of the growth the company had achieved so far.
"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."
Lion owns beer brands Speight's, Steinlager, Mac's and Lion Red, among others.