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Diageo buys Mr Black coffee liqueur

Baileys maker Diageo has acquired Australian cold brew coffee liqueur brand Mr Black for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Black
Mr Black is the biggest-selling premium coffee liqueur in the States

Launched in 2013 by designer Tom Baker and distiller Philip Moore, Mr Black is the leading premium-priced coffee liqueur in the US (IWSR 2021).

Furthermore, it was the fastest-growing brand in the global coffee liqueur category by volume from 2017 to 2021, according to IWSR data.

Diageo initially acquired a minority stake in Mr Black in 2015 through its accelerator programme Distill Ventures, which provides funding and support to founder-led spirits firms.

Claudia Schubert, president, US 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.”

The coffee liqueur brand is available in 22 countries, including Australia, the UK, and the US, its biggest market.

The brand is made at a coffee roastery near Sydney using ‘modern’ coffee brewing techniques. It was made to tap into the consumer demand for premium coffee cocktails, such as the Espresso Martini and Coffee Old Fashioned.

“Coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition and a community,” said Baker. “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.”

Baker will remain actively involved with the brand and work with Diageo to continue building Mr Black.

The deal was funded through existing cash resources.

Earlier this year, we spoke to Martin Hudak, global brand ambassador for Mr Black.

In other M&A activity, Diageo recently retracted its US$163 million deal to sell blended Scotch brand Windsor to a private South Korean equity group

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