Will Bionade fizz go flat after Dr Oetker takeover?

Will Bionade fizz go flat after Dr Oetker takeover?
Photo: DPA
Trendy German soft drink maker Bionade could lose its cult cachet after being bought out by un-hip food giant Dr Oetker, a firm best known for cake mixes and frozen pizzas.

Thus ends the fairytale story of the tiny south German brewery which, facing ruin, turned its hand to organic soda and won fans across the entire country.

The alternative fizz started going out of the Bionade story three years ago when founder Peter Kowalsky and his family transferred 51 percent of the shares from a holding company to the Radeberger beer group, which is in turn owned by Dr Oetker, in order to secure the investment and logistics support to expand out of niche shops and into supermarkets.

Radeberger confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that it had bought the rest of the company, although no price was released.

In recent years, the Bionade brand has tried to fend off imitators trying copying its success as a less sugary alternative to traditional soft drinks like cola. As it looked to grow beyond niche shops and bars, Bionade is now even found on the shelves of German discounter supermarkets.

Record sales of 200 million bottles in 2007 were followed by a dip after Radeberger first took the majority share, while a price increase was also against the wishes of Kowalsky, he said at the time.

His recent attempt to regain control over the brand by forming a Bionade limited company was blocked by Radeberger – and now Kowalsky has given up on his fizzy creation.

The Local/hc

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