Fast-growing coffee liqueur brand Mr Black is joining a portfolio filled with some of the world’s biggest alcohol brands after being purchased by global beverage company Diageo for an undisclosed sum today.
In the span of nine years, the Sydney-based brand has become available in more than 12,000 bars and restaurants across 22 countries. It has particularly taken off in the US, where it has become a leading choice for consumers seeking out an espresso martini or coffee old-fashioned.
Mr Black will join a group of famous alcohol companies run by Diageo, which include scotch whisky label Johnnie Walker, dry stout brand Guinness, cream liqueur Baileys, vodka giant Smirnoff and more.
Mr Black co-founder Tom Baker, who built the brand alongside Philip Moore, will remain involved in the company and work alongside Diageo’s team to build on the label’s success.
“Coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition and a community,” Baker said.
“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.”
Founded in 2013, Mr Black crafts from a small distillery on the NSW Central Coast, using cold-pressed, specialty single-origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea. To date, the company employs approximately 30 staff.
In 2015, Diageo acquired a minority stake in Mr Black via Distill Ventures – a 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.
At the time of writing, Diageo (LSE: DGE) has a market capitalisation of 86 billion pounds (AUD $147.5 billion).
“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,” Diageo US spirits and Canada president Claudia Schubert said.
“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.”
Distill Ventures CEO and co-founder Frank Lampen added it was love at first taste with Mr Black.
“Tom Baker is one of the most intuitive brand builders we've had the pleasure of working with, Lampen said.
“We're proud to have helped him and his team turn those solid foundations into a commercial success globally and especially in the US.”
The acquisition has been funded through existing cash resources.
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