Lion NZ has announced a new exclusive distribution agreement with Australian premium mixers company, StrangeLove, as the brand looks to grow its presence on Kiwi shores.

The distribution partnership will be a great accompaniment to Lion’s premium spirits portfolio that includes brands like Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire, providing a superior crafted selection of lower sugar mixers for high-end hospitality venues and retailers.

Founded in Byron Bay seven years ago, StrangeLove focuses on luxury mixers, using natural ingredients to create unique flavour positions that bring a customised experience to spirit drinkers. Flavours include Dirty Tonic and Bitter Lemon and Salted Grapefruit, served in distinctive bespoke bottles with premium stippling and embossed woodmark.

Premium crafted spirits and consequently, premium mixers, are experiencing huge growth as consumers continue to invest in quality over quantity and new and unique flavours. Gin value in NZ is now sitting at $36million and growing +26% MAT with growth in premium mixers at a staggering 207% vs YAGO.

David Temminghoff, CEO from StrangeLove, said this partnership with Lion is a great chance to bring their brand to the forefront of craft mixers in the Kiwi market.

“With New Zealand a key growth market for StrangeLove it’s exciting to have Lion on board to help us build our presence here. With their strong distribution network and expertise in hospitality, we’re confident they’ll support us to grow our momentum and mirror the huge success we’re achieving in Australia. Lion also has an enviable portfolio of spirits that our brand matches perfectly," said Temminghoff.

StrangeLove currently has 1500+ premium on-trade accounts in Australia and is adding around 50 new accounts each month - expecting to finish 2019 at just under 2000. The brand also has a growing overseas presence across the EU and Asia, with many more markets kicking off in 2020.

“We are continually seeing trade and consumers drawn to the brand due to the unique position it represents in terms of both flavour and mixability. Just being natural and preservative free is no longer enough. We seek to add more dimension to our drinks through use of ingredients like Murray River Pink Salt and high-quality oils like Calamansi and Yuzu across the range."

“StrangeLove is a great match for our spirits portfolio and will help ensure we meet the evolving tastes and occasions of consumers. In line with the huge growth of premium spirits, crafted premium mixers are booming. It makes sense, with consumers wanting to ensure they don’t ruin their high-end spirit by mixing it with a low-end product," said Stefan Gray, GM of Lion’s non-alcoholic division.

“The team also has a great selection of adult sodas like Smoked Cola, Yuzu and Double Ginger that will be great additions to our wider non-alcoholic beverage portfolio within the Drinks Collective. We have big plans to grow the Drinks Collective as part of our commitment to ensuring at least 10% of Lion’s sales come from our non-alcoholic range by 2025,” said Gray. 

The new exclusive distribution agreement is effective from November 1st 2019 and will replace StrangeLove’s current distribution through Federal Merchants.