Brown-Forman to buy RTD brand Part Time Rangers

US drinks firm Brown-Forman has agreed to acquire ready-to-drink producer Part Time Rangers for an undisclosed sum.

New Zealand-based Part Time Rangers produces spirit-based ready-to-drink (RTD) products made with sparkling water and ‘natural’ fruit flavouring. The company was founded by brothers Oliver and William Deane in 2018.

The six-strong range includes Lime Vodka, Passionfruit Apple Vodka, Apple Lime Rum, Strawberry Raspberry Gin, Ginger Lime Whiskey, and Apple Lemon Gin. Each 330ml can carries an ABV of 6% and is said to be low in sugar and calories.

“The acquisition of Part Time Rangers is a targeted investment for us and will help us grow in a key category in New Zealand and, in the future, Australia,” said Lawson Whiting, president and CEO, Brown-Forman.

“Along with our Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey and RTDs, we believe we will have greater diversity in the RTD category.”

Part Time Rangers supports local and global wildlife and ecosystem conservation initiatives and donates 10% of profits from every drink to the corresponding animal on the can. This move is said to complement Brown-Forman’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“What is appealing and unique about Part Time Rangers is that it offers a range of low-calorie, spirit-based RTDs for consumers to enjoy, while making a difference in our world through its charitable donations supporting wildlife conservation and ecosystem preservation,” said Eveline Albarracin, vice president, managing director, Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands, Brown-Forman.

“Part Time Rangers’ growing consumer base in New Zealand will provide our business with an exciting opportunity to broaden and strengthen our existing RTD portfolio footprint in New Zealand, Australia, and potentially beyond.”

Speaking during Brown-Forman’s Q1 results last month, Whiting said RTDs are “having a moment right now, it’s a business we’ve believed in and invested in for a long time”. He noted that this part of the business has become “meaningful” for the company.

Jack Daniel’s RTDs sell more than 10 million cases, Whiting said at the time, with Australia, the US, Germany, and Mexico all over 1m cases. The Jack Daniel’s RTD portfolio recorded a 37% net sales increase in Q1.

In June last year, Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman entered the fast-growing super-premium gin category with the acquisition of Fords Gin maker The 86 Company.

In July 2020, a senior Brown-Forman executive told The Spirits Business that the firm is “very open” to additional gin acquisitions.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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