Probiotic drinks manufacturer and bottler Big Easy Bucha, recently acquired by leading Latin-America beverage producer Beliv, is expanding its production facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. The project is expected to create 50 new jobs.
The acquisition of Big Easy by Beliv, whose portfolio includes 28 beverage brands in 30 countries, will accelerate Big Easy’s growth and allow for an increase in production capabilities. Big Easy products can be found in Whole Foods Markets, The Fresh Market stores, Rouses Markets, Sprouts Farmers Markets and Publix.
“With $700 and a dream, Alexis and I grew Big Easy from scratch. quite literally out of our studio apartment near Bourbon Street, expanding from just one product to over 20 healthy beverages that are sold nationwide,” said Big Easy Bucha CEO Austin Sherman. “The opportunity to take these artisanal products born in New Orleans to the global stage with Beliv, while accelerating growth and walking our mission, is truly a dream come true, and proof of what is possible with passion and perseverance.”
To secure Big Easy Bucha’s expansion in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana provided the company with a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart, the No. 1 ranked state workforce development program in the country. The company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs program.
“Louisiana has long been known for its contributions to the food and beverage world, and I’m excited to announce that this unique, New Orleans-made beverage line is expanding its operations,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “With this expansion, Big Easy will be able to connect their product to a wider audience. I am particularly proud to say that the company is committed to hiring from underemployed populations, sharing its economic success with the community.”
Big Easy Bucha was established by Sherman and fellow New Orleans entrepreneur Alexis Korman in 2014. According to Louisiana Economic Development (LED), the company plans to fill many of the 50 new jobs with participants of local job readiness programs, which connects chronically unemployed communities with job opportunities that offer meaningful work and living wages.
“Big Easy Bucha has grown like a SCOBY in a fresh batch of kombucha,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “From a small startup at Edible Enterprises in St. Charles Parish, Austin and Alexis have grown Big Easy to the point where this acquisition will give them a bigger workforce, international distribution, and the latest New Orleans food product to be enjoyed around the world.”