Sydney Rum Distillery strengthens portfolio with acquisition of spiced rum brand Cargo Cult

AUSTRALIA – Sydney Rum Distillery, an Australian producer of premium rum, has acquired the small batch spiced rum brand Cargo Cult, to be part of its ‘House of Australian Rum’ portfolio for undisclosed financial terms.

The company detailed that the House of Australian Rum’s portfolio strategy is to evaluate, collaborate, and partner with alike-minded rum producers and brands as the industry expands.

The startup distillery will add two exclusive Cargo Cult products which include Cargo’s Dry Spiced and Banana Spiced to its portfolio.

Founded in 2014, Cargo Cult focuses on making rum with no added sugar and using botanicals such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom. 

The company’s spirits are sourced from South Pacific distilleries, before being blended and spiced in Australia, with Australian distribution handled by Think Spirits (Amber Beverage Group).

As part of the deal, Cargo Cult Founder Jonny Croft will join Sydney Rum Distillery as Chief Marketing Officer, and a Director.

Cargo Cult’s UK distribution will also be handled by the local branch of Amber Beverage Group, Indie Brands, while the brand will be distributed by Zanzibar SRO within the Czech Republic.

Sydney Rum Distillery CEO, Steve Magarry stated that there is more to come from the company’s acquisition strategy.

Magarry commented that the acquisition is just the beginning of a strategic expansion that will include multiple rum industry opportunities across both the Asia Pacific and Australia.

Croft said: “It is time to scale and elevate our portfolio to a wider consumer audience across Europe and even into North America, whilst we support Amber Beverage here in Australia.”

“We see a huge opportunity in the rum category, with significant opportunity to drive premiumization and invite in new consumers with authentic unique, and innovative brands.”

Accordingly, Sydney Rum Distillery’s Chairman, David Ward, believes that Croft will “bring a wealth of industry sector experience gained over 20 plus years across Frucor-Suntory and Brown Forman in Australia and across global markets.”

The acquisition has been finalized at a time when Sydney Rum Distillery is still in the process of constructing its own distillery, which it says will rank in ‘the top 25 rum producers internationally by volume’ once complete.

The facility with a capacity to produce 1.2 million liters of pure alcohol a year is forecast to be commissioned in the last quarter of 2023.

David Ward, the startup co-founder, hinted that at full throttle the company will be purchasing about ten percent of the molasses produced in Australia.

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