Carlton & United Breweries is getting into the wine business, acquiring Adelaide-based Riot Wine Co.
It’s the first time CUB has expanded into the wine sector since it split off from Foster’s Group in 2011.
Riot Wine Co is leading the keg and canned wine revolution in Australia and is the only company to sell wine exclusively in kegs and cans, with hundreds of venues and retail stores nationwide adopting its innovative model since it launched in 2016.
Riot co-founder and chief winemaker Tom O’Donnell said: “We are incredibly excited to be joining Carlton & United Breweries. Their investment, expertise and customer relationships will help us continue our rapid expansion.”
Riot co-founder and general manager Joe Cook said: “We launched Riot Wine Co to start a wine revolution in Australia by getting venues and consumers to switch from bottles to steel kegs and aluminium cans. Wine drank this way is fresher and easier plus it’s more sustainable because one keg saves roughly 23,000 bottles from entering the environment. Our kegs prevent wine oxidising and our wine has a fun and fresh taste profile, with less sulphur making it cleaner than traditional wine.”
Riot produces high-quality wine from South Australian grapes, supporting local producers in premium wine regions.
Carlton & United Breweries chief executive Peter Filipovic flagged earlier this year that the company needed to diversify.
“VB and Carlton Draught are still the cornerstones of our portfolio and very iconic brands within the Victorian and Australian landscapes,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“But tastes are changing. Consumers are wanting more. Moderation is a big trend … and we have got to adapt.”
The new investment by CUB will also see Riot’s urban cellar door upgraded in the Adelaide suburb of Brompton, creating a revamped hospitality space where consumers can sample Riot products and food.
Cook told the Australian Financial Review that one of the main target markets for the company was 25 to 35-year-old women. The company’s wine-in-a-can products are currently stocked in about 21 Dan Murphy’s outlets.
The partnership continues CUB’s investment into SA and follows the building of a new Pirate Life brewery in Port Adelaide last year.
CUB Sales VP – Australia and NZ, Rose Scott (above) said: “We are committed to being the best beverage company in Australia and expanding our portfolio to meet the evolving needs of Australian drinkers. Riot Wine Co will help us do that.
“Riot Wine Co is a truly innovative company and CUB shares its commitment to quality and sustainability. Its rapid expansion in just three years shows venues and retailers agree that it can deliver great things for consumers.
“We plan to accelerate the expansion of this growing business through our large on-tap network and more than 100 years of draught experience.
“The Riot Wine Co team won’t change and management will stay on to ensure the elements that have helped drive the business’ success – a focus on quality wine from grape to glass, disruption and innovation, and the quality of its people and outstanding customer relationships – remain in place.”
Scott said further wine acquisitions weren’t on the horizon.
“There are no plans for that,’ she told the AFR.’