Liquid Asset Brands’ major investment in NZ rum

Stolen Spirits, rumChicago-based Liquid Asset Brands LIP and Spirits Investment Partners (SIP) have made a $21 million investment in Stolen Spirits for a majority stake in the business.

Stolen, an independent spirits company founded in Auckland, New Zealand, currently produces four internationally awarded innovative rums, including the world’s first smoked rum.

The partnership with LAB/SIP provides expertise and significant growth capital for expansion of the company’s portfolio, including a smoked whiskey, several unique rum releases and other new products under development.

LAB brings alcohol industry knowledge and business expertise to Stolen, particularly in the challenging and competitive US market.

LAB is led by Marc Bushala, a seasoned marketing and spirits entrepreneur and the managing partner of MAB Capital Management. This investment comes on the heels of the recent sale of Louisville-based Angel’s Share Brands to Bacardi Limited for an undisclosed amount. Bushala was a founding partner of Angel’s Envy.

“I am thrilled with our investment in Stolen. We consider it to be one of the best emerging spirit brands to come to market in the last few years,” said Bushala. “We love Stolen’s unique brand positioning and its innovation in the rum category. We are also excited to work with the Stolen team to expand the brand portfolio.”

The company has not disclosed the portion of the company that LAB holds.

Stolen established itself in  2010 out of a one-bedroom flat by Jamie Duff and Roger Holmes after Duff resigned from his position as a lawyer at a top investment bank in London and returned to NZ.

Duff said the concept for the brand came directly from his embarrassment at all the uncool rum brands in the market and the feeling that rum had been unfairly portrayed.

He took up the challenge and changed the way it was portrayed, resulting in Stolen seeing exponential growth and cult status in its home market of NZ and in Australia.

Beginning in early 2016 , Stolen Smoked Rum will be launched in key US states, including NY, FL, CA, MA and IL, with a sustained nationwide rollout.

For this rum, Stolen works with a world-class distillery in Trinidad & Tobago, from where it takes column-distilled rum, aged in ex-whiskey barrels in the Caribbean, and adds a combination of the best natural ingredients from around the world, including refractionated Arabica coffee beans from Columbia, vanilla from Madagascar and fenugreek from Morocco. This rum is then smoked using American Hardwood; a reinvention to rum as we know it with a smokiness that is usually associated with whiskey.

Smoked rum though isn’t getting all the attention. Flavoured and spiced rums now account for around 53 per cent of all rums sold and spiced rum is set to continue to grow with new flavour innovations emerging.

“It was always my dream to take the Stolen brand to the USA, the most dynamic spirits market in the world,” said Duff. “Marc and his team at LAB are real pros; all smart entrepreneurs at heart and who totally embody the Stolen ethos. We’re very fortunate to work with LAB as our global partner, which will enable us to do everything we want to do with this brand. Not only expanding into US markets but also developing Stolen product extensions.”

LAB continues seek out and review equity investment opportunities in early stage beverage businesses. For more information, visit

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