Crabbie's owner Halewood International has secured a deal to roll the alcoholic ginger beer out to more than 1,200 Woolworths-owned stores in Australia.

Halewood, whose co-founder John Halewood died two weeks ago, said the agreement was the first stage of its global expansion plan for the brand, which exploded on to the UK drinks scene in 2009. UK sales have risen 109% to £23.7m [Nielsen 52w/e 3 September 2011] and the range has been extended this year with Crabbie's Black and Crabbie's Spiced Orange.

The company has now started rolling out 500ml single bottles to 1,250 Woolworths Liquor, BWS and Dan Murphy's stores down under. In many Australian states alcohol can only be sold in dedicated stores - often referred to as bottle shops - although it can be sold in supermarkets in a few areas, including Victoria.

Crabbie's will be positioned as a premium import with Scottish heritage and targeted primarily at 25 to 45-year-old males who currently drink cider over ice. One difference from its UK positioning is the serving suggestion: Australians are advised to drink it with limes rather than lemons.
"Achieving international distribution only two years after launch demonstrates the scale of opportunity for the Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer brand," said Halewood International global brands director Graham Oak. "Australia is the perfect overseas launch market as there's already an awareness of alcoholic ginger products there."
This week the company announced John Halewood's widow Judy would replace him as chair of the business