Sydney-based band, Rüfüs du Sol, has worked with drinks insiders Tom Appleton and Justin Medcraft to produce hard kombucha Mate Maker Co.
The product is an organic ‘low-sugar’ and gluten-free RTD-style drink, made using fruit, green tea and cold pressed botanicals.
Mate Maker currently comes in two flavours: Mango Peach Smash, and Citrus Mule.
Jon George, Rüfüs du Sol member, says the drink was inspired by the band’s travels overseas.
“When we discovered hard kombucha a couple years back in the US, we immediately thought people in Australia would get it,” George comments.
“This is something we’ve put a lot of care and effort into and we’re stoked to be able to unveil it now right before we come home to play shows in Australia for the first time in three years. We think people will love it as much as we do.”
The brand was originally founded by Medcraft, a global drinks marketer who has previously worked with Diageo and Pabst Brewing Co. Medcraft explains how Mate Maker hopes to tap into the ‘better-for-you’ trend.
“We felt there was a gap in the market for simple and delicious drinks made from real, organic ingredients without all the fake stuff,” Medcraft says.
“So our community of mates came together to build a drinks company that is founded on transparency, innovation and fun all while doing our best to give the planet a high five through sustainable action.”
Mate Maker clocks in at four per cent ABV, and contains no more than 110 calories per can, with less than five grams of sugar. The liquid is fermented to strength – using a base of rice alcohol, which is then blended the kombucha that is fermented separately. Mate Maker claims this technique avoids the vinegary finish common to other kombuchas.
Another co-founder is Appleton, a drinks expert who has previously served as Head of On Trade for Diageo’s Australian operations, and a Regional Trade Director for Four Pillars Gin.
Appleton also believes the brand responds well to current trends in the drinks industry – in particular, the growth of Hard Seltzer and RTDs.
“Drinks innovation is so important for our customers and with the rapid growth of seltzer these last two years we’re confident that Mate Maker Hard Kombucha delivers all of the same functional benefits with a liquid that tastes really great.”
More flavours are slated to be released in 2023.
Mate Maker is available at independent retailers, with four packs retailing at $25.99. The hard kombucha will be offered at Rüfüs du Sol’s shows this summer.