Diageo acquires Australian premium cold brew coffee liqueur, Mr. Black

AUSTRALIA – Diageo has announced the acquisition of a 100% stake in the Australian premium cold brew coffee liqueur, Mr. Black, for an undisclosed amount.

The London- based multinational alcoholic beverage company initially acquired a minority stake in Mr. Black in 2015 through its accelerator program Distill Ventures, which provides funding and support to founder-led spirits firms.

Since its establishment in 2013 by designer Tom Baker and distiller Philip Moore, Mr. Black has grown its foothold in the coffee liqueur category and is now available in 22 countries.

While prominent in Australia and the UK, its largest market is the US, IWSR 2021 data shows it was the leading premium-priced coffee liqueur in the US.

Furthermore, the Australian liqueur was the fastest-growing brand in the global coffee liqueur category by volume from 2017 to 2021, according to IWSR data.

The quick lead as the top-selling premium-priced coffee liqueur in the US market sparked major brands to follow suit with similar coffee-leaning products; think Jameson’s Cold Brew, Pabst Blue Ribbon’s vanilla iced coffee, Jägermeister’s cold-brew riff, and Golden Rule Spirits’ espresso martini.

Beyond its flagship bottle, Mr. Black has expanded product offerings to include limited-edition liqueurs, including expressions aged in mezcal casks, Whistlepig rye casks, and Bundaberg rum casks.

The concept behind the brand was to bring Australia’s robust coffee culture into the spirit sector. The recipe calls for a bittersweet blend of top-grade Arabica coffees and Australian wheat vodka with no added flavors such as the Espresso Martini and Coffee Old Fashioned.

The brand is made at a coffee distillery-slash-roastery near Sydney using ‘modern’ coffee brewing techniques.

Claudia Schubert, President of U.S. Spirits and Canada, Diageo said: 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.”

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.”

Baker commented that coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition, and community that is why he created Mr. Black to embody that culture and inspire people to take their love of coffee into their evening drinks.

Diageo noted that Baker will remain actively involved with the brand and work with Diageo to continue building Mr. Black.

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