Brix seals national distribution deal with SouthTrade

Brix Distillers has sealed a distribution deal with liquor distributor SouthTrade International, substantially expanding its national footprint.

SouthTrade International will distribute Brix’s core range of 100% Australian-made premium rums and RTDs into bars, restaurants, and bottle shops across the nation.

As the first independent Australian pure-play rum distillery to be picked up by a major distributor, Brix said the deal would give it access to a greater domestic stage on which to showcase the versatility of Australian rum, prior to expanding into key export markets in the coming years.

With plans already underway to construct a one-million-litre per annum dedicated rum distillery in Western Sydney, Brix said it intends to invest heavily in liquid under maturation, all aged in ex-Australian wine casks, allowing increased production efficiencies to keep its core range of Australian-made products accessible for consumers. 

The distribution deal also coincides with release of a new custom designed bottle and label, while hospitality veteran Andrew Walters (ex-Swillhouse and Odd Culture) will head up the Brix beverage program and step into the Brand Ambassador role to work alongside the SouthTrade team.

Brix Distillers co-founder Damien Barrow said: “Brix is both thrilled and humbled to join SouthTrade’s extensive portfolio where we will have the opportunity to co-exist among some of the world’s most well-known liquor brands.

“It’s an extremely exciting time to be involved in the Aussie rum category and with a number of other amazing local brands contributing to change within the category, we expect to see consumer perception continue to shift over the coming years. Brix continues to focus on transparency, education, and innovative production techniques in bringing our brand to life, all of which are qualities we feel are well aligned with SouthTrade’s own operational brand pillars. 

“SouthTrade have consistently proven that they are experts in their class with a track record of significantly growing a brand’s market presence both domestically and internationally. Our entire team are truly excited for the next stage of the Brix journey.”

SouthTrade Internation’s Ray Noble said: “I am excited for Brix to be joining the Southtrade portfolio. Local craft spirits remain a key pillar of growth for us and I can’t think of a better brand to partner to lead the evolution of craft rum in Australia.

“There is a lot of untapped opportunity in the super-premium rum segment and the passion Brix bring to this category is infectious. Their new 100% Australian made Spirits range are well placed to challenge perceptions of how to enjoy rum in what is traditionally a cola led occasion. Culturally, the team at Brix are a great fit with SouthTrade, which is vital for a successful partnership. They dream big, take their craft seriously while having a lot of fun along the way”.

SouthTrade International will commence distribution in April 2023.

Why all the big players have premium rum in their sights

Diageo reached an agreement last month to acquire super-premium Don Papa Rum, a dark rum from the Philippines, describing the super-premium plus segment of the rum category as being “in the early stages of premiumisation”, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% in Europe and 27% in the US between 2016-2021.

Diageo’s purchase follows Brown-Forman completing its acquisition of the super-premium Diplomático Rum brand earlier this month.

According to IWSR data global premium-and-above rum volumes rose by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of +8% between 2014 and 2019, with value up by a CAGR of +9% over the same period.

After a strong post-COVID-19 recovery in 2021, premium-plus rum volumes are expected to climb by a CAGR of +6% between 2021 and 2026, with value increasing by a CAGR of +6.5%, the IWSR forecasts.

Consumption is heavily concentrated in the US, but the category is also performing well in a number of other countries, including European markets (France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium/Luxembourg), Canada and Australia.

Growth is being fuelled by the continued spread of cocktail culture, but also by a change of image for rum, which is increasingly being taken seriously as a high-quality spirit to rank alongside Cognac and single malt Scotch whisky.

“The change in perception of rum from a spirit that is drunk mixed to one that can be sipped continues,” said Jose Luis Hermoso, Research Director, IWSR. “Premium-and-above rum is therefore growing at the expense of lower qualities.”

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