Diageo has acquired 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 the 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.
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.
Co-founder, Tom Baker, will remain actively involved with the brand, working with the Diageo team to build on Mr Black’s success.
Claudia Schubert, president, 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.”
Tom Baker, co-founder of Mr Black, said: “Coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition and a community. 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, said: “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. 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.