Adelaide’s Riot Wine Co has been bought by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB). The beverage giant was formerly the Australian subsidiary of the world’s largest beer company AB InBev. It was sold to Asahi Group Holdings for $16 billion in July.
Riot co-founder and chief winemaker Tommy O’Donnell says the “investment, expertise and customer relationships” CUB brings to the company will help continue its rapid expansion.
The forward-thinking local wine label launched in 2016, inspired by the tap-wine boom in the US. Its first release was a rosé – still the label's flagship product – in a stainless-steel keg. Only you had to be at a bar or restaurant to try it. In March 2017 the label started canning its wines, and added a sparkling chardonnay, sav blanc and grenache to the mix.
O’Donnell says Riot Wine Co is the first company in Australia to store 100 per cent of its wine in reusable stainless-steel kegs and package it in recyclable cans. “Every keg we use saves 66 bottles from landfill,” he told Broadsheet earlier this year. Both methods maintain the wine’s freshness by protecting it from light, oxygen and heat.
“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,” Riot co-founder and general manager Joe Cook said in a press release.
“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.”
In July the team opened a 12-tap cellar door in Brompton – The Cannery – that will now be upgraded thanks to an investment from CUB. Soon, all of the canning and kegging will be done on-site (and on display).
“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,” CUB sales VP for Australia and NZ Rose Scott said in a press release.
“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.”