spirits

Diageo Ups Liqueur Portfolio With Mr Black Acquisition

Diageo is topping off its 2015 investment in premium cold-brew coffee liqueur Mr Black by acquiring the Australian brand outright, making it Diageo’s second liqueur alongside Baileys Irish Cream.

Diageo’s Distill Ventures business-accelerator unit made an initial investment in Mr Black two years after the company was founded by designer Tom Baker and distiller Philip Moore.

According to Diageo, Mr Black has grown to become the leading premium-priced coffee liqueur in the United States.

Mr Black is a blend of Arabica coffees, Australian wheat vodka and cane sugar.

“Coffee is more than just a drink—it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition and a community,” Baker said in a news release announcing the deal.

“We created Mr Black to embody that culture and inspire people to take their love of coffee into their evening drinks.”

In addition to increasing Diageo’s presence in liqueurs, the acquisition of Mr Black dovetails with the company’s presence in the fast-growing mescal and tequila category—where Diageo’s Casamigos and Don Julio are leading brands.

In August, Mr Black announced a partnership with Mexican mezcal brand Ilegal for a mezcal-infused version of Mr Black.

Last year, Diageo acquired agave spirits brand Unión Mezcal.

Mr Black is sold in 22 countries.

Other brands acquired by Distill Ventures since 2013 include Seedlip non-alcohol beverages, Japanese whiskey Kikori and German aperitif Belsazar.

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