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Crafting the Essence of Kiwi Spirit: A Sip into Premium Liquor's World

"From Coastal Inspiration to Global Palates – A Journey through Quality, Passion, and Innovation"

In the vibrant landscape of New Zealand, a group of passionate Kiwis embarked on a flavourful odyssey in 2017, giving rise to Premium Liquor. Driven by an insatiable thirst for quality beverages, this company has seamlessly blended tradition with innovation, offering a diverse portfolio that speaks to the modern world's discerning tastes. With brands like Batched Premium Cocktails, Rose & Twig Gin, Coast Rd Vodka, Mutu Wine, and Shed 530 winery under its umbrella, Premium Liquor stands as a testament to the fusion of quality, passion, and Kiwi spirit. We talk to Paddy Whyte, UK & Ireland Country Manager for Premium Liquors to uncover their story so far!

Can you provide us with some insight into the founding story of Premium Liquor? What inspired the group of Kiwis to start this venture in 2017?

Our story begins in 2017 when a group of Kiwis decided to create their drinks. Drinks that they loved and that they wanted to drink. And, so they started Premium Liquor Co. to create premium drinks for the modern world.

Since then, we have been imagining, creating, and producing a range of spirits, RTDs & mixers at our bottling plant in the beautiful coastal town of Tauranga, New Zealand. We’ve recently acquired a vineyard and cellar door in the beautiful sunny wine region of Hawkes Bay, giving us an incredible range of premium NZ wines.

Image: Collection of premium brands.

Seven years later … we have a distinct range of spirits, RTDs, and wine brands in New Zealand. We believe in our brands and strongly believe there is a place in other markets for the drinks we make, and getting our New Zealand drinks into British consumer’s hands has been a big ambition for us. 

Premium Liquor represents various brands like Batched Premium Cocktails, Rose & Twig Gin, Coast Rd Vodka, Mutu Wine, and Shed 530 Winery. Could you share the unique attributes of each brand and the philosophy that ties them together under the Premium Liquor umbrella?

With an eclectic collection of brands, each one has its own unique story: 

Batched Premium Cocktails:

A night out in Tauranga went so wrong due to an over-priced, sub-standard Espresso Martini. It was that night out that inspired us to create our own … and Batched Premium Cocktails was born. We spent months developing the perfect Espresso Martini using quality ingredients, and fair trade coffee beans and perfecting our signature foamy head.  And, after 5 years in the market, we think we’ve nailed it. Along the way, we got hooked and kept creating more premium, quick-to-serve cocktails – including a Strawberry &  Rhubarb Gin Sour, Salted Grapefruit Margarita, Whiskey Sour, and Passionfruit Martini – all the cocktails we love to drink on a night out and find too time consuming to make for ourselves at home. 

Image: (From L - R) Bached Whiskey Sour, Batched Espresso Martini, Batched Gin Sour, and Batched Salted Grapefruit Margarita.

Rose & Twig

Rose & Twig took inspiration from the delicate floral notes you would find in your favorite perfume. Just as a master perfumer captures floral notes to create a signature fragrance, we aim to capture and distill botanicals into a stunning and delicious flavored gin that tastes as good as it looks. 

Made in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, NZ, we triple distill in small batches to create our unique Rose & Twig Gin. We use 6 aromatic botanicals to create Rose & Twig, including wild juniper, coriander seed, nutmeg, angelica, orris root, and citrus peel. Our Blueberry flavoured Gin contains dried butterfly pea giving it a unique blue colour that changes colour when mixed with your favourite tonic.

Image: Rose & Twig Blood Orange Gin and Rose & Twig Blueberry Gin

Coast Rd Vodka

Coast Road Vodka is a range of premium, small-batch vodkas. Made in New Zealand’s stunning Bay of Plenty, it is triple distilled, and charcoal filtered to ensure a smooth, clean flavour.

The Coast Road is an ode to the road less traveled and embraces New Zealand's intrepid spirit and sense of adventure.

Coast Road Pink Vodka is a delicate blend of natural berry and rhubarb flavours to give a delicious, delicate, and fruity flavour.

Shed 530 Winery

In a corner of Hawkes Bay, just out of Napier, sits the Shed 530 Estate. Where once was the sea, a powerful earthquake in 1931 created new land, rich in alluvial soils around the time when our original woolshed was built for farming. Today, the woolshed remains and Shed 530 is one of the newest wineries in the Hawkes Bay region.

Image: Shed 530 Estate Wine.


Our Chief Winemaker, Kel Dixon, brings a wealth of over 30 years of winemaking experience and continues to work hard to create an enviable portfolio of outstanding NZ wines.

  • 100% New Zealand owned, grown and made 
  • Low in sugar which is achieved from fermentation only (no added sugar)
  • Low in sulphites 
  • Minimal intervention with low additives or preservatives added 
  • Quality grapes from the renowned Gimblett Gravels region known for ultra-premium wine production.


MUTU in Te Reo Māori means core element or essence. True to its meaning, winemaking is at the heart of how MUTU wines are created. MUTU wines are from carefully selected vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay region. This allows our winemakers to tap into the diversity of the landscape, soils, and climate crafting exceptional wines.

When our winemakers create Mutu wines, they have the freedom to push the traditional boundaries of winemaking and showcase their craft. This has resulted

Image: Mutu Reserve Syrah

in wines that are unique, award-winning, and truly the terroir of the Hawke’s Bay subregion where they are grown.

The company emphasizes standing behind each brand's quality and taste while providing excellent customer service. How does Premium Liquor ensure the consistency of quality across its diverse product range, and how does it guarantee top-notch customer satisfaction?

We are a small, nimble team, with big ambitions to get the drinks we make into like-minded people’s hands. Everything we do and create is done to a high quality – if it’s not good enough, we don’t put it out to market. And, this level of quality runs through our whole business – from the way we treat our suppliers, our staff, and the people we work with across the world. We don’t settle for mediocrity.

Premium Liquor expresses ambitions to see its Kiwi drinks in the hands of consumers worldwide. Can you elaborate on the strategies and efforts the company is employing to expand its reach globally?

We’ve always had the ambition to build our brands in the UK, and when one of our top sales reps expressed the desire to move to the UK (as many Kiwis do), we thought it would be an incredible development opportunity for him and a sure-fire way to build our business in the UK. He has been working tirelessly to meet with the right people who share our vision for incredible drinks … and getting small and meaty distribution opportunities for our portfolio in the UK.

We’ve been trying different ways to grow in different markets, from Australia, Japan, and China, all working with people we trust and who share our ambition within our network. It’s been a slow burn, particularly in some markets, and we’ve learned a lot along the way, but our ambition is still there.

Can you tell us more about Premium Liquor's sustainability initiatives and how the company is addressing environmental and social responsibilities in its operations and packaging?

Where we can, we aim to use recycled glass and cardboard as packaging inputs – a great example of this in New Zealand is our Alchemy & Tonic 600ml Glass bottle that is made from 80% recycled glass. We also have several workstreams being focused on in our manufacturing plant to make water use more efficient, reduce wastage, and use more energy-efficient power sources. We are constantly working on these time-intensive projects to be more efficient.

The recent acquisition of a vineyard and cellar door in Hawkes Bay is a significant development. How does this contribute to Premium Liquor's overall strategy, and what opportunities does it open up for the company?

We’ve always wanted to have the ability to make all types of beverages, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, and it makes strategic sense for a NZ drinks company to have a wine brand and cellar door in our portfolio. Long term, it's our vision to create a whole new distillery and brewery alongside our cellar door, that will give us a unique capability to make even more drinks.

Premium Liquor participates in various global competitions. How has entering competitions like the London Spirits Competition played a role in shaping the company's identity, and have there been any notable achievements or recognitions that have positively impacted the business?

For us, the awards that we have won are real validation that our spirits and wines are high quality. You don’t often get a chance to pat yourself on the back, so the awards are our chance to celebrate our success.

Image: London Spirits Competition Winners

Since the inception of Premium Liquor in 2017, how has the company approached innovation and product development? Are there any upcoming releases or trends in the beverage industry that the company is particularly excited about?

We are constantly developing new ideas and product concepts – it’s in our blood. And, we’re lucky to be in New Zealand, as it’s the perfect sized market to launch new products, easily gain scale, and see if the product flies or dies. We have been quick to learn from our mistakes, if we see something isn’t working, we can easily pull it and focus on things that are working. After 5 years of learning, we are now really clear about what is working in the market, and we can take these successful drinks into new markets. This is exciting for us. 

Our key brand is Batched Premium Cocktails, and cocktails are on-trend at the moment. This last New Zealand summer, Margaritas have exploded, and we’ve been able to quickly launch a range of different pre-made Margaritas in different formats to jump on that trend.  

With changing consumer preferences, how does Premium Liquor stay attuned to market trends and adapt its products to meet the evolving tastes of consumers?

Being in New Zealand, our sales results tell a story of what consumers want and what they are buying. If products aren’t working, we can easily pull them from the market, and with our strong NPD pipeline, there is always something new to launch. We think this is the best way to meet consumer’s ever-changing needs and wants. 

Every industry faces challenges. How does Premium Liquor navigate challenges and stay adaptable in a dynamic market, and what lessons has the company learned along the way?

We are still relatively small and our team is extremely nimble – if something isn’t working, we can easily mobilize our manufacturing, our sales team, or head office staff to focus on things that are working. Our ability to be adaptable has saved us through some troubling times, particularly through COVID. In New Zealand, liquor stores were closed, so we quickly moved our sales online. Our sales reps overnight turned into our warehouse staff and were packing boxes to be couriered around New Zealand. This example of our agility has been what’s made us a resilient business.


As we take a sip of Premium Liquor’s perfectly brewed espresso martini, it's evident that their commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction has elevated them beyond a group of Kiwis having fun to a beverage company poised to create exceptional drinks. With a recent foray into the sun-kissed vineyards of Hawkes Bay, the journey of Premium Liquor continues to evolve, promising not just drinks but experiences that capture the essence of New Zealand's rich terroir. From local favorites to global ambitions, Premium Liquor is crafting a story that blends tradition with the avant-garde, inviting everyone to savor the Kiwi spirit's taste, one sip at a time. Cheers to a brand that embodies the heart and soul of premium beverages.

Header Image Source: Premium Liquor

In conversation with Malvika Patel, Editor and VP, Beverage Trade Network

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