Effective from 1 April, a sales representation agreement has been signed by the Ch’i Drinks Workshop and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Kiwi subsidiary, Neill, Cropper & Co Ltd.

Kiwi-owned herbal drinks business, Ch’i Drinks Workshop, has announced a partnership with a subsidiary of Australian premium soft drink player Bundaberg Brewed Drinks a move which will significantly upskill Ch’i’s sales and distribution, as well as improve reach and visibility across New Zealand retail and hospitality markets.

Auckland-based Neill, Cropper & Co has been operating in New Zealand for over 100 years and is Bundaberg Brewed Drinks’ long-established importer and distributor in New Zealand.

“As distributors in the ‘premium soft drinks’ sector, Neill, Cropper & Co fully appreciate the consumer passion for Ch’i, but at the same time they’ve witnessed our distribution gaps,” said Ray Nicholls, owner of Ch’i International.

Neill, Cropper & Co are helping secure a much stronger position for delivering a larger stream of herbal drinks.”

The partnership will enable Neill, Cropper & Co to capture Ch’i’s unrealised brand value by improving their overall distribution and availability. The deal will give them access to food, hospitality and impulse outlets.

“Ch’i has short-changed New Zealand’s retail trade by not providing the support and focus required in the competitive FMCG business. This means, with Bundaberg Brewed Drinks’ distribution horsepower, you can expect to see Ch’i drinks on more café menus and drinks lists, which is something consumers have asked for.”

While Neill, Cropper & Co is set to represent Ch’i out in the field, it has been agreed that all transporting and invoicing of Ch’i products be carried out by the Ch’i Drinks Workshop. This is believed to be the most efficient model.

“Our sole focus on the Ch’i Drinks Workshop will be making their drinks and ideas available to as many consumers as possible. This is an integral business function for us, we strive to be a major value contributor to our partners in the various reseller channels,” said Neill, Cropper & Co Director, Andrew Cowsill.

“Neill, Cropper & Co’s mission is to achieve outstanding sales results in the premium drinks sector, and we are very excited about the opportunities this partnership presents.”

Both organisations have been supplying premium beverage brands to New Zealand since the 1980s and are keen to further their relationship if the timing is right.

“Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has distribution arrangements in over 60 countries, including Europe, United Kingdom, United Sates, Asia and Middle East. Any future partnerships with Ch’i beyond New Zealand remain up for discussion,” said Nicholls. 

“Bundaberg Brewed Drinks doesn’t partner with just anyone. They are proven and cautious. We expect a three-fold effect: Ch’i will be available in higher volumes; brand awareness will grow; and we can now execute a new series of drink ideas. It’s an exciting time.”