James France, John Gakuru invest in Rhubi Mistelle

Bar industry veterans James France and John Gakuru have joined Australian aperitif brand Rhubi Mistelle as investors and advisors.

An Australian interpretation of mistelle, an ancient style of French aperitif, Rhubi Mistelle was founded by renowned bartenders and industry professionals Evan Stroeve, Tim Philips-Johansson and David Hobbs.

The brand now has the backing of Vanguard Luxury Brands founder James France – a recent guest on the Drinks Adventures podcast – who recently exited the business following its sale to Lion.


“Rhubi is a wonderful Australian brand with outstanding credentials and provenance,” commented France.

“It perfectly addresses the spritz occasion with a liquid that is less sweet and more versatile than many others in the category. 

“Its colour and packaging draw the consumer in, while the taste and ease of the two-step perfect spritz keep them there. I’m really excited to be working with the Rhubi team to help fulfil this great brand’s potential.”

Renowned industry figure John Gakuru also joins as an investor. He will assist Rhubi to gain traction with consumers and trade, as well as forging international relationships.

“Rhubi represents a unique flavour and usage opportunity that we strongly believe will carve out a wonderful space on the back bars and drinks menus, home bars and store shelves of the discerning,” he said.

“A long forgotten category, brought back to life in stunning fashion.”

Rhubi brand director Linn Philips-Johansson said the company aims to offer consumers and trade, “an alternative to old school and passé apéritifs”.

“The onboarding of James France and John Gakuru is in-line with our strategy to work with the industry’s best, utilising our network to prepare Rhubi for the global market,” she said.

“We are delighted to welcome these veterans to the business – each of them bringing unique skills and knowledge to the table.”

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