Diageo has swooped on another skyrocketing start-up, acquiring Australian coffee-based spirits brand Mr Black, to meet the consumer demand for crafted cocktails.
Mr Black was launched in 2013 in the NSW Central Coast by designer Tom Baker and award-winning distiller Philip Moore.
They espouse the vision of bringing “coffee culture” to the world of spirits and cocktails, applying modern coffee brewing techniques, and sourcing and roasting to their own bespoke specification.
Charged by the cocktail revolution, specifically the frothy consumer desire for premium coffee cocktails such as the espresso martini and coffee old fashioned, Mr Black has grown to become an Australian bar staple now available in 22 countries, and the United States’ leading premium-priced coffee liqueur.
Diageo observes is it “another example” of the local industry showing its potential.
“The Australian spirits industry is so dynamic right now,” says Diageo Australia managing director Angus McPherson.
“Not only have we seen Australian distilleries grow from just 28 to more than 400 since 2014, but we’re also seeing Australian spirits brands receive widespread international acclaim and expansion of Australian spirits in overseas markets.”
Diageo acquired a minority stake in Mr Black in 2015 through Distill Ventures – an accelerator program that receives funding from Diageo, and which works with the company to support entrepreneurs as they launch and grow innovative drinks brands.
Mr Black is the fourth brand to join the Diageo portfolio from Distill Ventures, but the first from Australian, joining local legend Bundaberg Rum.
Diageo reports Mr Black co-founder, Tom Baker, will remain actively involved after the move.
“With its award-winning liquid, eye-catching design and packaging, and ability to thrive in culture, we believe Mr Black is just getting started in the dynamic coffee liqueur segment,” adds Claudia Schubert, Diageo President, U.S. Spirits and Canada.
“This acquisition is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands in exciting categories, and we are delighted to welcome Mr Black into our portfolio.”