Top Shelf International, the Australia-based distiller, has started selling its first agave spirit.
The company has launched Act of Treason, the agave it had been developing at its farm and distillery site in the Whitsundays in northern Queensland.
Top Shelf’s first batch of the spirit has sold out after being available online on the Act of Treason website. It is listed as being priced at A$120 ($79.15).
“There was an overwhelming response to the first release of Act of Treason. The next batch will be available very, very soon,” a LinkedIn post from the company read yesterday.
For a spirit to be called Tequila, it must come from one of five Mexican states.
Speaking to Australian broadcaster Channel 7, Top Shelf International CEO Trent Fraser said “a few [Tequila distillers in Mexico] are a little bit up and about” but said the country’s producers had mostly been supportive.
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“Hopefully, this is a new era of agave. We’re very respectful of the founding fathers of agave but, at the same time, we’re Aussies, we want to be playful, we want to be a bit cheeky and really hopefully it adds something exciting to the category at the same time.”
The sale and leaseback of the Top Shelf International’s 430-hectare agave farm was reportedly one measure under consideration to reduce its debts in early 2023 but the company has since described the site as a “strategic asset”.
At the company’s AGM in October, Fraser, who took the helm six months earlier, said the group had invested A$7m in its agave business in its last full financial year, which ran to the end of June. A further $2.6m was spent in the first quarter of its new financial year.
In the year to the end of June, Top Shelf’s revenue was A$27.5m up 36.3% on the previous 12 months.
The Grainshaker vodka brand owner reported a loss at an EBITDA level of A$27.5m – compared to $18m the year before – and a net loss of A$48.3m, versus A$16.4m a year earlier.
In the first quarter of Top Shelf’s new financial year, revenue stood at A$6.7m, against $5.7m in the opening three months of the previous fiscal year.
It made a first-quarter EBITDA loss of A$3.1m, down from one of A$5.2m the year previous.