Fever-Tree founders sell £48m stake in tonic maker; “Fever-Tree follows in a tradition of great British brands including Innocent, Ella’s Kitchen and Tyrrells which all achieved fantastic success by exporting to the rest of the world.”

Fever-Tree founders sell £48m stake in tonic maker

Two entrepreneurs who spent 18 months scouring the globe for ingredients for the perfect gin and tonic have been backed with £48m.


Tim Warrillow and Charles Rolls launched Fever-Tree eight years ago.

By James Hurley

6:59PM GMT 12 Mar 2013

LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has invested in premium tonic water brand Fever-Tree, which was founded eight years ago by Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow.

Mr Warrillow spent a year-and-a-half searching for the right ingredients for the tonic water. The company now uses quinine from the Congo, Rwandan bitter orange oil and natural cane sugar. It also makes ginger beer using gingers from the Ivory Coast.

The deal will see LDC replace original investor Lochside and leaves Mr Rolls and Mr Warrillow still holding a small majority stake.

Mr Rolls says the £16m turnover company has exploited the growing popularity of gin. “It began with a simple idea. We saw a lot of premium spirits so we thought people would want a premium mixer. If three quarters of your drink is the mixer, you should make sure the mixer is the best.

“Premium mixers didn’t exist before we started but we were right. Within six months, the likes of Waitrose were calling us. That never happens.”

More than two-thids of Fever-Tree’s sales now come from overseas, with Spain and the USA the most successful of the 35 markets it sells to.

In the UK, the drink is stocked by supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose and in upmarket bars and hotels including the Caprice, Claridges, Hakassan and the Ritz. It is also sold in seven of the world’s top 10 restaurants.

The London-based firm recently started selling its tonic waters in Japan and is planning to expand in South America following “very strong growth” in Colombia.

Mr Rolls said: “What is exciting about this business is the international potential. It’s a geographer’s paradise. Wherever premium spirits are served, we have a market. That’s the task for the next years.” He said the company was hoping to achieve sales of £40m by 2015.

Daniel Sasaki, managing director of LDC, said: “Fever-Tree follows in a tradition of great British brands including Innocent, Ella’s Kitchen and Tyrrells which all achieved fantastic success by exporting to the rest of the world.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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