Rebecca Caughey’s on a mission to improve your gut

Photographed by Babiche Martens

A career in rock n roll, then a pivot to food and drink… A surprising career trajectory has led an Auckland entrepreneur to create a world first in fizzy drinks. 

Rebecca Caughey is musing on the benefits of a Good Sh*t. No, not the daily trip to the bathroom that we all make — although that is important in Caughey’s world — but the drink that she invented, Good Sh*t soda. 

Good Sh*t is a ‘functional’ soda, a drink that has health benefits. Created by Becs and her husband Nick Brown here in Aotearoa, it is the first drink in the world to contain a combination of pre- and probiotics. Each can has more than a third of your daily fibre, and it’s low in sugar, which is good for gut health. The drink works as food for the good bacteria in your gut and provides a boost of good bacteria too.

“I’m really interested in the gut and the brain connection too,” explains Becs, who lives in Northcote Point with her husband, two children, cat and dog. “All of the research shows the connection between the microbiome, and our mental health. The bacteria in your microbiome is completely different between individuals — it’s like a fingerprint — so you have to work out what suits your system best.”

Becs, who grew up in Auckland, didn’t start her working life thinking about gut health: far from it. She was an aspiring jazz musician in high school who performed regularly in bands and orchestras. Without the patience to rehearse all day everyday for the rest of her life, she turned to music management as a career option. After university, a job as Dave Dobbyn’s personal assistant led to meeting Ladi6 and Shapeshifter. She became manager of the two Kiwi music heavyweights, travelling the world for months at a time, organising tours, liaising with record companies and venues to sell out albums and events.

It was a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that took her to live in Berlin for a while, working 24/7 to keep the bands on the road. She loved the challenge, being self-employed and being a part of making exciting things happen. When she and Nick started a family back in New Zealand however, the job became difficult to juggle with motherhood.  

“I couldn’t do the job I wanted to do as a parent being away a lot,” says the mum of two. “Before you have a child, you don’t know what you’ve going to get, what it is going to do to you physically. I tried juggling conference calls and organising world tours in between breastfeeding and I rolled into postnatal burnout pretty quickly.” 


After more than a decade with the two bands, moving on wasn’t easy, but Becs and Nick decided to start a company. Nick already had a hot sauce business — a side hustle to his career in sales with media companies — so they found other products to import too and started Cook & Nelson.

“It was a complete life change and it took me three years to get my head around,” Becs admits. “It was a whole new language. I wasn’t from a food background, but I started to market our products like a record, which worked for us.”

They now work with McClure’s Pickles, Tony’s Chocolonely, Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits, Non alcohol-free wine, and other brands. It’s Nick’s job to get new products on the shelf, via compliance, shipping, liaising with supermarkets, etc. Becs’ job is to get it off the shelf and into shopping bags via sales, marketing, events and public relations. They work around the kids’ timetables: Nick starts work early, while Becs gets the kids, 10 and 8, to school. Nick picks them up in the afternoon, while Becs is hard at work. They have family dinner together every night, go back to their laptops once the kids are in bed, and alternate their solo overseas buying trips so there’s always a parent at home.

“I love working at nighttime; I can work til midnight or 1am because of the lack of interruption and time to plan,” says Becs. 

In 2020, their business hit a Covid speed bump when boats were unable to arrive in New Zealand and offload products. “It was ruthless,” the 42-year-old says. “But it gave us time to look at creating our own product and we decided we wanted to start a soda. There are a plethora of functional sodas now, but back then we did the research and found that there was nothing worse for your gut health than soda and we saw an opportunity.” 

No one had combined pro- and pre-biotics in a can, and Becs had a feeling it could be a gamechanger for the soda category. It took more than a year of research and development before Good Sh*t launched.

“People know of probiotics because of kombucha,” she says. “The prebiotic fibre in Good Sh*t feeds the probiotics, so they survive and thrive. It’s the combination that gives you the optimal result. It’s a very complicated drink in a very simple can.”

Along the way, she acquired three business partners. 

“We’re a group of five people that are like a family,” she says of the business. “We’ve all got different strengths. Michelle is an absolute ninja on planning and forecasting, Ben and Dean bring the aesthetic, the brand name, and top level governance. And while Nick and I love working as a couple, it’s nice to have your friends in there, too.”

Good Sh*t comes in four flavours, and is stocked in grocery, bottle stores, even pharmacies. It’s popular with millennials, as Becs expected, but the aged care audience loves it too, because of the health benefits. 

A move into Australian stores starts in June. There’s interest in the UK too. And they are launching a brand new product, Good Sh*t powder, on May 29, which is World Digestive Health Day. The powder can be added to smoothies, drinks or sprinkled on food, and contains all the same microbiome-loving, pre- and probiotics as the fizzy drink.

“It’s literally what’s in the can without carbonation,” says Becs. “I have it for breakfast in my smoothie everyday. I feel calmer, healthier.” 

To celebrate World Digestive Health Day, Good Sh*t is giving away a year’s supply of soda to one lucky New Zealander. Visit here to enter.

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