The Bundaberg Success Story

Jul 20, 2017

The Bundaberg Success Story

In a world where everyone wants things fast, this Australian company is proving that great taste takes time.


Australian family-owned Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has been craft brewing premium non-alcoholic beverages since the 1960s in the Queensland town that shares its name, Bundaberg. For three generations, they’ve kept tradition at heart, brewing to traditional recipes, using time-honored brewing methods and the best quality ingredients.

For as long as they’ve been in business, they’ve lived by one simple rule, if it’s worth brewing; it’s worth brewing well, and to this day they retain the strong company values that have been the foundation of their success.

The company has its origins as a small operation started by Cliff & Lee Fleming, along with Cliff’s parents, Neville and Gladys. Back then, times were extremely tough to build a beverage business, but with perseverance and determination, distribution of their Ginger Beer started to gain serious traction. In the 1980s they secured distribution in both major Australian supermarkets and began exporting the product internationally.

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Cliff’s son-in-law, John McLean joined the business in 1995 before taking over as Bundaberg Brewed Drinks CEO in 2007. John’s mission was to grow the business internationally whilst maintaining the company’s strongly entrenched family values. He still gets excited when he’s overseas at a restaurant, and there on the menu is Bundaberg Ginger Beer, “it is a surreal feeling knowing the background and the effort it has taken to get it there”. Now, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks are a global business with Bundaberg Brews now available in over 44 countries around the world.

Craft Brewed to Taste Better

Bundaberg Ginger Beer is craft brewed to a traditional family recipe, brewed using locally sourced ginger and sugarcane. Bundaberg even has its own ginger farm!

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“There’s nothing like the taste you get from brewing with real ingredients”, McLean explains. “It’s the brewing process that really allows the flavors to develop, something you simply can’t match any other way”.

There are now eight flavors available in the US market – Ginger Beer, Diet Ginger Beer, Root Beer, Blood Orange, Guava, Pink Grapefruit, Peach, and Lemon Lime & Bitters. All brewed in Bundaberg, all brewed using real ingredients.

Part of the experience of enjoying a Bundaberg Brew is the ritual of inverting the Classic Bundaberg bottle with its iconic rip-cap before you open it, or what they call, “Flip, Rip & Sip”. McLean explains, “It’s not a gimmick – it’s designed to help infuse the real ingredients throughout the brew to unlock the full flavor. It’s flavor you can see!”

Using premium ingredients with distinct flavors, Bundaberg beverages are perfect for cocktails, including the popular Moscow Mule. The brews are go-to mixers among bartenders and mixologists alike, and are also the perfect alternative to alcohol for consumers. Recent qualitative research conducted by Bundaberg found when consumers drink their premium Brews in social situations they don’t feel like they are depriving themselves – but rather enhancing these special entertaining occasions.

Photo Courtesy of "The Southern Thing"
Photo Courtesy of "The Southern Thing"

It’s a Brew – Taste the Difference

The unique thing about Bundaberg Brewed Drinks is actually in their name. Bundaberg beverages are brewed for up to seven days using real ingredients, which achieves a depth of flavor only achieved through this brewing process.

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So, while traditional Carbonated Soft Drinks have been seeing a decline, sub-categories such as craft soda are showing a marked increase. It’s a key trend that has seen millennials, in particular as a generation, turning away from mainstream brands in preference for smaller brands who better cater to their needs. They’re seeking out products that provide them with a unique experience, a brand that aligns more with their beliefs, opinions, and values with a desire to maximize special moments.

According to Euromonitor research, Millennials are the largest and most influential generation of consumers, and for this reason it is important for brands and bar owners to be both proactive and reactive to Millennials’ demand for “more”.

As Millennials move away from mainstream soft drink products, they are seeking out new beverage (and cocktail) experiences and looking for brands that have an authentic backstory and distinct product attributes such as, craft products that use real ingredients, to create unique flavors. They are also looking for products that have unique packaging and quirky product rituals, such as Bundaberg’s “Flip, Rip & Sip” opening ritual – Bundaberg Brewed Drinks tick all the boxes and are right at the center of all these lifestyle trends.

Photo Courtesy of "Platings & Pairings"
Photo Courtesy of "Platings & Pairings"
Photo Courtesy of "The Good Drink"
Photo Courtesy of "The Good Drink"

Premiumisation is a concept that has seen changes in consumer perceptions in other categories including spirits, beer, and fast food. Similar changes are now occurring in sodas, with adult consumers seeking more premium products – ones which are a bit more special than an everyday soft drink, a drink to be savored. Because of this, consumers are looking for brands that are authentic – real and genuine.

And Bundaberg has all these qualities in spades. As a result, Bundaberg is the number one selling craft soda brand in California and the fastest growing craft soda brand in the USA.

To find out more about Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, head to their website here.