After purchasing the former Pinto plant in Tauranga, signing a big distribution deal in the UK and welcoming former Fisher Funds Management chief investment officer Warren Couillault into the shareholding fold this year, Kiwi-based VnC Cocktails is well and truly beefing up and planning on tripling its already impressive sales next year. And winning a highly competitive global tender to supply its premium pre-mixed cocktails to Etihad Airways' First Class services is certainly a pretty good start.
From mid-November, VnC's Strawberry Daiquiri, Pomegranate Cosmo, and Pacific Mai Tai will be available in the Abu Dhabi-based airline's Diamond class, which was called the World’s Best First Class flying experience by aviation publication Skytrax (the airline kicked off in November 2003 and is regarded as the fastest growing airline in the history of commercial aviation).
“It is a match made in heaven, or at least one that works a treat at 36,000 feet, between an award-winning airline and the most awarded ready to serve cocktail range in the world,” says VnC Cocktails managing director Shane McKillen, an early investor in 42 Below and the man behind Hampsta, electricity retailer Empower and the Triple X Motorsport operation. “Winning this contract reinforces that we are making the world’s best ready to serve cocktails right here in New Zealand.”
McKillen says the win is the outcome of six months of discussion with Etihad and it "reflects the premium taste, quality, and convenience of the VnC Cocktails product line".
According to the Herald, the company, which employs 25 people in New Zealand and 20-25 around the world, including 12 in China, was already producing 50,000 more cases annually than 42 Below was when Bacardi bought the company for $138 million in 2006. More than 90 percent of its product is exported.
In keeping with the cheeky, lo-fi approach that will be well-known to fans of 42 Below's marketing efforts, VnC has also created a viral video that celebrates the new Etihad contract and, at the same time, takes aim at a "prominent local airline" and its new furry mascot that doesn't stock VnC Cocktails in its first class offering.