Top Shelf's not-tequila Act of Treason agave spirit pours into Dan Murphy's, BWS

Top Shelf's not-tequila Act of Treason agave spirit pours into Dan Murphy's, BWS

Photo: Act of Treason, via Facebook.

An Australian-cultivated agave spirit that cannot be called tequila for legal reasons has shot its way into some of the country's leading retailers, with Top Shelf International (ASX: TSI) announcing a breakthrough deal to range its Act of Treason in Endeavour Group's (ASX: EDV) Dan Murphy’s and BWS.

The milestone is yet another step delivering on a bold vision from Top Shelf's co-founder and former CEO Drew Fairchild, which almost sent the company to the brink due to the expensive outlay of planting 600,000 agave plants and a distillery in the Whitsundays.

Since launching Act of Treason at the start of this year, Act of Treason first gained early traction through local on-premise seeding as well as stocking in select "high-image" accounts in major cities.

Following these commercial trials, in which Top Shelf claimed demand was outstripping supply, the company appears to be ramping up the product's availability with ranging to start across all Dan Murphy's stores nationwide and certain BWS outlets from mid-July.

The group notes the deal complements the brand's on-premise footprint in key strategic locations along the eastern seaboard in Sydney, Brisbane, Whitsundays and Melbourne.


Related story: Just don't call it Tequila: Top Shelf launches Aussie agave spirit Act of Treason


The announcement comes after Act of Treason won gold medals at the three most prestigious international spirits competitions in May and was named the World’s Best Speciality Spirit at the World Drinks Awards.

As well as gold at the World Drinks Awards, Act of Treason was awarded gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and scored 95 points at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London to complete a clean sweep at the year’s most coveted global spirits competitions.

"We have been overwhelmed by the response to Act of Treason since it was launched in January. This announcement, along with the recent gold medals in San Francisco and London, are significant milestones in our ambition to build an Australian Agave category led by Act of Treason," says Top Shelf CEO Trent Fraser.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase Act of Treason in Dan Murphy’s and BWS as our first retail partnership and look forward to working with the Endeavour team on a successful, ongoing relationship."

Top Shelf has a lot riding on the success of this roll-out, as at the end of 2023 the company had $42.4 million in liabilities, including $23.6 million worth of borrowings.

The company's whisky and agave assets have book values of $19 million and $27 million respectively, but now it is a matter of materialising that value through sales over the coming years.

To give itself some leg room the group announced a $13.9 million entitlement offer in May, but was only able to secure $1.6 million, which adds to a cash position of $2.8 million at the end of 2023.

The entitlement offer was at 10 cents per share (cps), representing a massive 42.9 per cent discount to the TSI share trading level at the previous close of 17.5cps on 21 May. At the time of writing, TSI shares are worth 9.5cps.

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