Owners of Cheltenham-based Neptune Rum say the sale of 50 per cent of their business gives them a good shot at reaching the global market its product deserves.
James Strickland and his business partner Raymond Pugh revealed they bought the business and its assets of the brand from the administrator, KRE Corporate Recovery, in June last year.
Since its launch in 2017 Neptune Rum, which is made with pot and column still rums, and aged in American Bourbon oak casks, has grown 384 per cent and already captured numerous awards.
Mr Strickland, chief executive officer of Neptune Rum – which is also one of the sponsors of the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards 2021, said: ‘We are really excited by Babco taking a 50 per cent equity stake in Neptune rum.
‘We think there is a really great story to be told yet about it and Babco’s experience of taking products to market will help us do that.’
Steve Mabbutt, director of marketing at Neptune Rum, said: “We know this is a global-quality product and this will help us reach that wider audience.
‘This really is a tipping-point. The deal will help us accelerate our growth plans by three years.’
In 2020 Neptune also expanded its portfolio with Caribbean Spiced rum and there are plans for five more products this year.
Mr Strickland and Mr Pugh bought Neptune with the assistance of Bristol law firm Shaw & Co, the same business which helped them sell their £150 million-plus turnover recruitment firm (Passionate About People) in September 2018 to Staffline Group PLC.
Since then Neptune has also sought to showcase its environmental credentials, not just in terms of the ingredients its uses and their provenance, but also by backing environmental projects related to the world’s oceans.
It expects to unveil one such project it has been working on with Exeter University later this year which involves installing fresh-water outlets at Cornish beeches to encourage the use of refillable water bottles and cut down on plastic waste left by visitors.
The deal with Sheffield-based Babco UK is said to reflect the firm’s expansion into brand ownership. Chris Bowen’s company already handles the likes of Tofka Vodka and Míl Gin.
By Andrew Merrell
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