Diageo acquires premium cold brew coffee liqueur, Mr Black

Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, has announced its acquisition of Mr Black, the Australian premium cold brew coffee liqueur.

Mr Black was launched in 2013, by designer Tom Baker and award-winning distiller, Philip Moore, with the vision of bringing the global coffee culture to the world of spirits and cocktails.

Mr Black has grown to become a leading premium-priced coffee liqueur in the United States, applying modern coffee brewing techniques and quality sourcing to reinvigorate coffee cocktail culture and consumers’ desire for premium coffee cocktails, such as the espresso martini and coffee old fashioned.

Over the last five years, Mr Black has been the fastest growing brand in the global coffee liqueur category.

Now available in 22 countries, the brand appeals to craft cocktail lovers and consumers seeking delicious tasting cocktails in bars and restaurants, and for indulgent, at-home occasions. Mr Black sources and roasts coffee to its own bespoke specification, creating the premium liqueur with a delicious and rich coffee taste.

In 2015, Diageo acquired a minority stake in Mr Black through Distill Ventures, the Diageo-backed accelerator program. Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo and works with the company to support entrepreneurs as they launch and grow innovative drinks brands.

“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,” said Claudia Schubert, president, U.S. Spirits and Canada, Diageo.

“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.”

Co-founder, Tom Baker, will remain actively involved with the brand, working with the Diageo team to build on Mr Black’s success.

“Coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition and a community,” said Baker.

“We created Mr Black to embody that culture and inspire people to take their love of coffee into their evening drinks. Diageo understood our vision early on and now, after several years with them as a supporter, we are thrilled to be joining the Diageo family.”

Frank Lampen, CEO and co-founder, Distill Ventures echoed Schubert’s sentiments.

“It was love at first taste with Mr Black, and Tom Baker is one of the most intuitive brand builders we’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Lampen.

“We’re proud to have helped him and his team turn those solid foundations into a commercial success globally and especially in the US.”

Mr Black is currently available in 22 countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – which is its largest market. The acquisition has been funded through existing cash resources.

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