One of New Zealand’s fastest growing non-alcoholic beverage brands is set to launch into the Australian market – having secured a new export deal for its prohibition-style brand of tonics. Their first export shipment will land later this year.
Bootleggers, which produces a collection of handcrafted tonics and mixers made from locally sourced and organic ingredients designed for gin drinkers, is riding a global wave of category growth – with gin sales up 34%.
James Waugh, a Wellington bartender, founded the Bootleggers brand in his basement as a ‘grandmother’s recipe’ gin mixer which he ‘smuggled’ into local bars that had licensing agreements with competing brands. He says the use of mixers became fashionable during the prohibition period as bartenders in speakeasies blended ounces of it with various mixers from bitters to soda, juices and fruit garnishes, to hide the flavour of the poorly made alcohol or ‘bathtub gin’.
“The New Zealand market has been underdeveloped for some time but more recently there has been an explosion of gin consumption with over 200 brands available here now. There is a lot more science and experimentation with gin now and the growth of premium tonics is a natural extension to that.”
Waugh says Bootleggers is one of the largest locally owned and manufactured tonic brands, and global supply challenges faced by their competitors during the pandemic have provided the company with an opening into a number of new retailers including supermarkets and Liquorland alongside premium hospitality venues such as Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers.
We look forward to the launch of new three low sugar options along with new flavours, a redesigned label and bottle sizes.