AB Inbev snaps up Master of Malt

Budweiser and Stella Artois brewer AB Inbev has purchased online spirits retailer Master of Malt as it continues to consolidate its position in the market.

It already owns Beer Hawk, the UK’s largest online beer retailer, and it is now moving into spirits after snapping up Master of Malt’s parent company, Atom Group.

The deal includes producer Atom Brands and distributor Maverick Drinks, so AB Inbev’s portfolio now contains a range of craft spirits.

Bathtub Gin, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, That Boutique-y Gin Company, Drinks by the Dram, Kyrö gin, Wolfburn and various other brands are now part of the AB Inbev stable.

Earlier this month AB Inbev put up the cash to allow Magners supplier C&C to purchase Matthew Clark Bibendum, the largest BWS supplier to the UK on-trade, from the ashes of the fallen Conviviality empire, and it continues to shore up various routes to market.

Atom Brands is now part of ZX Ventures, the same AB Inbev division that owns Beer Hawk, which recently announced plans to open its first bricks and mortar store in London.

Andy Logan, e-commerce director at ZX Ventures, said: “We were set up to help other ambitious, innovative businesses unlock their potential, and that’s what this deal is all about.

“We loved the leadership team’s passion and enthusiasm for innovation and saw a really good cultural fit. We’re really excited about welcoming the Atom Group family into ZX Ventures and learning from the e-commerce expertise of the Master of Malt team.”

Joseph Petszaf, founder and managing director at Atom Group, said the management team will remain and there will be no job losses.

“This deal is an amazing moment for our business, which has gone from working out of a shed in Kent  to one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies,” he said.

“We’ve always been a technology-focused business, building our e-commerce platform from scratch to give consumers the best experience possible and we recognised a kindred spirit in ZX Ventures, in its mission to innovate, grow and answer new consumer demands.”

He claimed he has not sold out, and that the deal will allow it to help people explore the world of fine spirits through innovative technology.

“We’ve done everything so far without any external investment,” he said. “Although we’ve come a long way since that shed on the farm, we still have so many ideas and so many things we want to build that it would take decades to realise them all without a partner like ZX.

“ZX has bought into what we’re doing here, and they want to help us to do more of it. We would never have partnered with someone who didn’t believe in what we were doing, or would seek to change it.

“We are not going to change a single thing about what we do or how we do it. Not our people, not the way we do business, not our mission, not our values. We’re just going to be able to do it all faster because we’ve got a global partner in our corner who really believes in what we’re doing. ZX invests in businesses that it believes are doing things right, and have incredible potential to grow.

“ No one is going anywhere. This is going to be the most exciting time in our history. We’re in this for the long haul. We get to accelerate everything we’re already doing: build better technology, expand our range, and build out even more cool services like Dram Club, Build Your Own Tasting Sets and gift vouchers.”

Related articles: