Lion NZ, a unit of Japanese brewer Kirin, has entered into an exclusive distribution partnership with Australian premium mixers company StrangeLove.

StrangeLove was established seven years ago by Byron Bay with a focus to create exclusive flavoured luxury mixers using natural ingredients.

Its flavour portfolio includes Dirty Tonic, Bitter Lemon and Salted Grapefruit, packaged in bespoke bottles with premium stippling and embossed wood-mark.

The distribution agreement will be effective from 1 November and will replace the company’s existing distribution through Federal Merchants.

StrangeLove CEO David Temminghoff said: “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.”

“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 the use of ingredients like Murray River Pink Salt and high-quality oils like Calamansi and Yuzu across the range.”

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Temminghoff added that the partnership with Lion would provide its company with an opportunity to bring their brand to the forefront of craft mixers in the New Zealand market.

Currently, StrangeLove has more than 1500 premium on-trade accounts in Australia and is planning to add almost 50 accounts each month, with an expectation to add approximately 2000 accounts by the end of the year.

Lion’s Non-Alcoholic Division general manager Stefan Gray said: “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. 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.”