Australia’s fastest growing whisky & vodka brands

Top Shelf International has announced it achieved revenue of $20 million in FY21, representing growth of 160% on the prior comparative year. Leading the results were NED Whisky and Grainshaker Vodka, which are the fastest growing whisky and vodka brands in Australia (source: IRI liquor data, 12 months ended 25 July 2021).

Chief Executive Drew Fairchild said: “In many ways FY21 has been a transformational year for Top Shelf, not least the successful completion of an IPO in December 2020 and navigating the inherent challenges presented by the COVID pandemic over the past 15 months.

“The revenue growth and margin enhancement recently achieved by Top Shelf, particularly in the second half of FY21, attests to brand resonance, ongoing establishment of distribution channels both here and abroad, the strength of our vertically integrated operating platform and recent investment in people, all of which support the scaling of our business and underpin our future growth ambitions.

“Over the course of FY21, Top Shelf has continued to invest in its maturing spirit inventory and maturation capacities, an indication of which is the equivalent net sales value of the Company’s maturing whisky and agave spirit assets having increased to $272 million at June 30, 2021, from $44 million at June 30, 2020.”

FY21 highlights included:

  • National ranging of NED Whisky with distribution via more than 1800 outlets, inclusive of Independent Brands Australia (IBA), consisting of Cellarbrations, Bottle O and IGA liquor
  • The successful launch of Grainshaker Vodka in October 2020
  • Premiumisation of the NED Whisky product range contributing to a net sales value per litre of $71.4 (at 43% ABV) in the second half of FY21, a 23% uplift on the first half
  • 1.6 million litres of whisky under maturation representing a net sales value of $111 million
  • The continued investment in its agave assets in North Queensland (the equivalent of 1.9 million litres of agave spirit under maturation at 30 June 2021)

Key executive appointments

Top Shelf noted it had made key executive appointments across multiple business functions, including Trent Fraser, who will lead the company’s agave and international growth strategy from September 2021.

Fraser (above) is the former president of LVMH’s Volcan De Mi Tierra Tequila. He has been hired to drive the company’s plans to create a $100million annual agave spirits business in Australia and lead international expansion.

The company has registered the trademark Ozcala and is preparing to release Australia’s first large-scale tequila brand. It has planted 120,000 agave plants on a 400ha former sugar cane property just outside Airlie Beach in north Queensland, with plans to have one million in the ground over the next four years. A $25million distillery, production facility and visitor centre are also in the works. 

Fairchild said: “Trent’s track record of success at LVMH speaks for itself. He is the perfect person to guide and shape the development of our Australian agave opportunity.

“We could not have found a more well-credentialled, internationally-recognised Australian in the spirits world to help TSI realise its ambition to become Australia’s first globally relevant multi-branded spirits company.

“We’re thrilled he shares our vision and passion to create not only Australia’s first agave spirit of global relevance, but also to help guide our spirits portfolio’s entry into markets around the world.”

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Categories: Business