Effective from 1 April, a sales representation agreement has been signed by the Ch’i Drinks Workshop and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Kiwi subsidiary, Neill, Cropper & Co Ltd.

Kiwi-owned herbal drinks business, Ch’i Drinks Workshop, has announced a partnership with a subsidiary of Australian premium soft drink player Bundaberg Brewed Drinks (BBD) — a move which will significantly upskill Ch’i’s sales and distribution, as well as improve reach and visibility across New Zealand retail and hospitality markets.

Auckland-based Neill, Cropper & Co is Bundaberg’s long-established importer and distributor in New Zealand. They will also represent Ch’i in other markets, including Australia and the Pacific.

“As leaders in the ‘premium soft drinks’ sector, Bundaberg fully appreciate the consumer passion for Ch’i, but at the same time they’ve witnessed our distribution gaps,” says Ray Nicholls, owner of Ch’i International.

“They are helping secure a much stronger position for delivering a larger stream of herbal drinks.”

The partnership will enable Neill, Cropper & Co to capture Ch’i’s unrealised brand value by improving their overall distribution and availability. The deal will give them access to food, hospitality and impulse outlets.

“Ch’i has short-changed New Zealand’s retail trade by not providing the support and focus required in the competitive FMCG business. This means you can expect to see Ch’i drinks on more drinks lists and café menus, which is something consumers have asked for.”

While Neill, Cropper & Co is set to represent Ch’i out in the field, it has been agreed that all transporting and invoicing of Ch’i products be carried out by the Ch’i Drinks Workshop. This is believed to be the most efficient model.

“Our sole focus on the Ch’i Drinks Workshop will be making their drinks and ideas available to as many consumers as possible. This is an integral business function for us, we strive to be a major value contributor to our partners in the various reseller channels,” says Neill, Cropper & Co Director, Andrew Cowsill.

“Neill, Cropper & Co’s mission is to achieve outstanding sales results in the premium drinks sector, and we are very excited about the opportunities this partnership presents.”

Both organisations have been supplying premium beverage brands to New Zealand since the 1980s and are keen to further their relationship if the timing is right.

“Bundaberg has distribution arrangements in over 60 countries, including Europe, the United Kingdom, United States, Asia and the Middle East. Any future partnerships with Ch’i beyond New Zealand remain up for discussion,” says Ray Nicholls.

“Bundaberg doesn’t partner with anyone, they are proven and cautious. We expect a three-fold effect: we will be available in higher volumes; brand awareness will grow, and we can now executive a new series of drink ideas. It’s an exciting time.”

About Chi Drinks Workshop

CH’I Drinks has been supplying Kiwis with premium beverages for the past 30 years. In 2019 they established the CH’I Drinks Workshop in Riverhead, New Zealand. Their goal is to evolve a range of drinks ideas that have handcrafted herbal extracts at their heart and build on the concept of CH’I – the ancient breath of life.