Why 80 Proof got into the wine business

International expansion plans are on the cards for the Boujee wine brand, following its acquisition by the founders of the Wet Pussy Shot, 80 Proof.

80 Proof, which launched the hugely popular Wet Pussy premix brand last year, bought Boujee from the co-founder of alcohol delivery service Tipple, Shane Barrington, and got his expertise as part of the deal.

Barrington has managed and owned independent liquor stores across Melbourne for more than 20 years. He launched Boujee with his wife Nat last year and it quickly became the best-selling wine across Tipple partnered stores. Boujee’s mission is to bridging the gap between affordable and fine wines. It aims is to simplify the process of selecting good drops for wine lovers who are time poor.

“The recent acquisition of Boujee Wines has been on the cards for a while,” said 80 Proof director George Grigoriadis.

“We have had our eyes on them for some time, as we believe it is the perfect brand to expand our growing portfolio. We love innovative products that break the mould of the standard commercial offering in the market. With the advice from our international partners, we believe we can scale the product into the overseas markets as well as nationally in Australia. We have big plans for Boujee and we are so excited to have this under the 80 Proof banner.”

Barrington added: “As I have predominantly been on the retail side of things, I understand what the consumer wants and needs are. This is an advantage to now being a part of 80Proof, which creates products from scratch.”

Viral sensation Wet Pussy Shot is the brainchild of Grigoriadis and fellow nightclub entrepreneurs Danny Grant and Jess Conti. While their venues were closed during last year’s lockdowns, they started brainstorming ideas for new products to create and sell in the off premise. A popular cocktail in their clubs was the Wet Pussy Shot – containing peach, cranberry and lime juice mixed with white spirit – and they discovered the trademark was available for it.

They started selling their premix product through independent bottle shops and were soon moving more than 55,000 bottles a week. The brand is also creating an international buzz.

“It’s insane, there were so many people hitting us up too going ‘oh my god, it was under my nose the whole time’,” Grant told National Liquor News earlier this year.

“And we were the same, we did it with the smallest intentions. I never even thought that everyone called them wet pussy shots, I just assumed that there were certain states in Australia that it wasn’t called that, or that it was a Melbourne thing.

“To find out it’s called that worldwide is mind blowing, and the fact that we got the trademark is just even more insane. Wet pussy shots have been a part of bar culture for 20 years, it’s crazy that no one ever thought to bottle it or trademark it.

Barrington said 80 Proof has big plans for the coming months, with exciting new releases on the way.

“We have some amazing products in the pipeline to be released, which will really grab the attention of our target market,” he said. “They include new flavour variants to add to the existing Wet Pussy brand, plus some ‘made in Australia’ premium spirits with a twist.”

Watch this space.

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Categories: Business