“It was just so hard to find a functional impulse beverage. I’d always been an apple cider vinegar guy because of the great health benefits, and I was convinced I needed to come up with a drink that could make it more accessible,” explains co-founder Andrew Rush.
In September 2016, Andrew joined forces with sister-in-law Chloe Rush, to together launch Kréol, a range of low-sugar, all-natural probiotic and prebiotic beverages.
“We were on the same page right from the start,” explains Chloe. “Similar to Drew, I’m passionate about fitness and health.”
Drawing on a decade of experience working with big fashion apparel brands, Chloe was excited to see where her skills could take her, as she and Andrew shed their former careers and adopted a new title: entrepreneurs.
“It all started sitting ’round the dinner table. Chlo and I were talking shop and specifically about the difficulty with finding an on-the-go beverage that is actually good for you. After owning and working cafes in Melbourne, I had observed there was a real lack of functional beverages in the Australian market,” describes Andrew. Just a few years earlier, he had begun exploring the benefits of holistic health whilst on a surf trip around France. From there, his interest in gut health blossomed, “people are now drinking with purpose and moving away from sugary soft drinks and juices, which is great to see.”
Andrew saw an opportunity, “research into consumer habits and trends, both here and abroad, quickly proved there was a market for what we wanted to create. Giving people an on-the-go beverage, that’s fun to drink at any occasion… and supports gut microbiota ticked a lot of boxes,” he explained. “It became really apparent that retailers and consumers wanted something that was functional, tasted good and that was low in sugar.”
Andrew, who initially launched Kréol from the back of his car, recalls the extensive trial and testing period. “It took some time creating the formulations. Many hours were spent in the lab perfecting ingredients through tastings with friends and family. The big challenges have lied in dealing with live cultures. All [our beverages] are made with bio-dynamically farmed apple cider vinegar.”
Calling on quality and creative branding, both Chloe and Andrew had faith that Kréol would turn the tide on consumer habits: “a lot of work has gone into making sure we have a great product and a brand that people can trust,” says Chloe. “The response was really positive to our product early on, and so we were really confident about the concept and quality of our product. We think the brand is now starting to build nicely,” she explains.
For Andrew, his love of bacteria and gut health is still very much evident. “We are paramount on making sure that our product is authentic and maintained to the highest standard. Kréol is small-batch brewed and carefully formulated with our hero function being the inclusion of quality prebiotics and probiotics, which support digestive gut flora,” he explains. “A lot of research went into what probiotics we wanted to incorporate and how best to do this in a sparkling beverage to maintain the quality and culture benefits right through to the consumer.”
With an aesthetic that appeals to the health-conscious drinker, the authenticity and transparency of Kréol’s brand DNA has enabled them to find like-minded partners in business, explains Chloe. “Partnering with the right people and distribution channels has been really important. We have been very lucky to have teamed up with some great distributors. I guess for us it’s important we work with people who love and trust our product as much as we do.”
The name Kréol – derived from their prebiotic recipe, developed by the Creole people of the Caribbean – is fast becoming synonymous with health and flavour on-the-go. “I just wanted to develop a quality drink that consumers can trust with a clean and simple brand message, ‘Healthy Gut, Healthy Mind’.”