Irn-Bru maker moves into new sector

Funkin gives AG Barr a £21m sip of the booming cocktail market


funkinSoft drinks group, AG Barr, has acquired Funkin Limited from its founding shareholders for £21 million in a move that will take it into the cocktail mixer market.

The deal involves an initial payment of £16.5m plus a further £4.5m subject to the achievement of certain financial performance targets.

 Funkin was founded in the late 1990s and it sells to pubs and other licensed premises such as restaurants, mainly in the UK, though it does have a fledgling business in the US and Europe.  The business has grown rapidly to achieve revenues of about £9m last year.

The UK cocktail market has grown strongly in recent years as cocktail consumption has become mainstream and consumers have sought new types of drinks.

The Funkin brand has become popular among drinkers through a number of marketing initiatives and will now look grow through Irn-Bru maker AG Barr’s distribution channel, branding and marketing in the UK and overseas.

Barr said the acquisition will be funded by an extension of its existing credit facilities.

Funkin chief executive Andrew King will remain with the business the business and will operate within the group as a supported, but stand alone, business unit.

Barr chief executive Roger White said:  “We believe that Funkin has created a unique niche in a growing market and together we can drive exciting growth in a new sub category.  We have a proven track record of acquiring and developing high growth brands such as Rubicon.  Under our ownership we believe Funkin is even more strongly positioned to take advantage of a number of exciting growth opportunities.”

Juice brand Rubicon has made its first move into the chilled category with three new flavours available at Tesco.

Adrian Troy, head of marketing at AG Barr, said there was a growing demand for “more interesting juice flavours”.

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