Cheltenham rum brand secures £1.2 million investment to go global

Neptune Rum

An award-winning Cheltenham-based rum brand has secured £1.2 million of investment to help it become a global brand.

Neptune Rum has  secured the collective investment from new owners James Strickland and Ray Pugh and drinks business Babco UK.

A new agreement gives Babco UK a 50 per cent equity stake in the premium rum brand, enabling Neptune to catalyse its plans for growth. As a result of the investment, Neptune will expand its product range, while increasing its distribution networks, including with Amazon which it has identified as a key sales channel.

Neptune Rum is a smooth pot and column stilled rum aged in American bourbon oak casks. The brand’s popularity has skyrocketed since its launch in 2017, with more than 384% growth to date.

With more than 135 years of combined industry experience and a network spanning on and off-trade, Babco UK creates, manages and distributes brands for leading drinks companies from around the world. Its spirits portfolio includes Tofka Vodka, Oranjeboom, Míl Gin and a series of white-labels.

Chris Bowen, MD of Babco UK, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment in Neptune Rum which shows our commitment and passion for the fast-growing rum category. This acquisition is part of our plan to move further into brand ownership and support premiumisation.

“We were initially attracted by the strength of Neptune Rum’s brand identity and values which are backed by exceptional quality and natural ingredients.

“There is an excitement in the rum segment today, and with over 65 global awards, Neptune Rum is the most exciting brand to watch. We are confident that with our expertise in building and growing drinks brands, we will continue to drive growth and set them up as a global brand.”

James Strickland, CEO of Neptune Rum, added: “We are excited by Babco UK’s investment in Neptune Rum. We are so passionate about quality, sustainability and supporting ocean clean-up initiatives, which is something Babco shares.

“This investment provides us with a fantastic opportunity to tell our story, share our exceptional rums and expand our ocean clean-up programs on a much larger scale. We are thrilled to enter this new chapter with Babco by our side.”

Neptune Rum was founded in 2017 as a premium rum. It launched with Neptune Rum Barbados Gold which became the world’s most awarded rum of 2018 and 2019. Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced launched in 2020 to critical acclaim and 5 new rums are under development with plans to launch in 2021.