September 29, 2022

UK-based drinks giant Diageo has acquired Mr Black, the premium cold brew coffee liqueur from Australia using existing cash resources. The price was not disclosed. The brand was launched in 2013 by designer, Tom Baker, and distiller, Philip Moore, with the intention of bringing coffee culture to the world of spirits and cocktails.

Within a decade, Mr Black has become the leading premium coffee liqueur by volume in the United States (source: IWSR, 2021) by reinvigorate coffee cocktail culture and tapping consumer desire for premium coffee cocktails like espresso martinis and coffee old fashioneds. IWSR data also show that Mr Black – which sources and roasts coffee to its own bespoke specification – has been the fastest growing brand in the global coffee liqueur category over the past five years and it is now available in 22 countries including the UK, and the US, which is the brand’s largest market.

Claudia Schubert, president of US spirits and Canada at Diageo said: “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.”

Distill Ventures

An eye on the prize since 2015

In 2015, Diageo took a minority stake in Mr Black through the brand accelerator Distill Ventures, which is backed by the drinks group through funding. Now that the coffee liqueur brand is fully acquired, co-founder, Tom Baker, will remain actively involved, working with the Diageo team.

Baker 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.”

Frank Lampen, CEO and co-founder of Distill Ventures, added: “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 their solid foundations into a commercial success globally, and especially in the US.”

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