TWO ROOKS® - The Story

TWO ROOKS is a classic New Zealand story of an idea that well, kinda just spiraled out of control.



A simple idea that escalated into our association to new age street culture, spirit mixing and extreme sports, resonating with young adults and professionals alike.

Here is a VERY narrowed down series of events that ultimately created what is now known as Two Rooks.

Cola Re:defined

Flash back to the final months of 2015 and I had recently got back to the country after a trip to Melbourne. It was a hot summers afternoon and I was driving to Taupo when I somehow recalled a night out during the trip with friends, Mike & Luke, at an established strip club. I randomly recalled a round of top shelf we'd ordered that was mixed with what must of been the last dregs of flavour come of the post mix gun. Although postmix isn't uncommon in any light, I remember thinking to myself that it was strange they wouldn't at least use a fresh can seeing as it was an 'upper crust' type of venue.

I contacted Mike on the drive down (who actually buggered off and left us with the bill for that very round now that I mention it) and questioned why there wasn't an option for a "premium cola" we did some research and all we could find were over-priced glass bottles filled with a somewhat flavour-less range of soda's. Instead of leaving it at that we decided to pursue it a little further, not knowing exactly how deep this was going to take over our lives over the following years to come.

One of the first concepts for the cans during a weekend in Tauranga for a Kickstarter video to help raise funds. Safe to say I'm happy we changed the design.

Over the course of six months and a few failed attempts to be taken seriously by large manufacturers in New Zealand, it was getting the better of us, we discussed the possibility of overseas manufacturing. Two days later our bags were being loaded onto a  plane and we were jet setting 13 hours to the other side of the world to seek help. Three weeks into the trip and we almost left empty handed, when by a stroke of luck we stumbled across none other than Royal Crown Cola’s central Thai manufacturer, Sakol Bottling.

After a few laughs from the receptionist, we were transferred through to the head honcho’s office. We explained the situation and questioned the likelihood of Sakol being able to help to get our idea from a concept on paper and transforming it into a chilled, ready to drink product. "You traveled half way around the world to make your cola?" He politely chuckled away to himself, he admired our ability to think outside of the box and agreed to produce the first ever order of Two Rooks Cola.

It took around year to finalise everything and get the first order onto a boat arriving early 2017. Scraping together all the money we could, using savings and taking out loans from friends and family to make this thing a reality. The rest is history.

Pallets of the finished product

Pallets of the finished product sitting at our Auckland dispatch warehouse

A few things have changed since that trip overseas. Mike (the original other half of Two Rooks) has left to pursue another opportunity at the end of 2017, we gained nationwide ranging across the fuel channel beginning of 2018 and we have learned a hell of a lot along the way i.e. like how to actually produce a drink (we didn't know how when we started)

Mike signing out from his tour of duty at Two Rooks

Mike signing out from his tour of duty at Two Rooks November 2017

To date over a quarter million units have been enjoyed across New Zealand, Two Rooks is slowly but surely getting it's roots placed firmly into this crazy industry. We have had competing brands "sneakily" try and take photos of the inside of our previous office/warehouse in Hamilton, had one of the two giants in the states scurry to rebrand a product to resemble Two Rooks after our Kickstarter campaign was successful and have expanded the brand into further markets such as extreme sports and street culture. It certainly hasn’t been easy but taking on global corporate giants with billion dollar budgets from a living room fueled purely on a dream was never going to be, That’s half the fun of it.

We're looking forward to the future with additional products and locations, needless to say, we have some big things planned.

As Geoff Ross of '42 Below' once said - "Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like hell"

If you wanna support the cause and have your part in this story you can grab yourself some cola below.

Chris Howard


Chris Howard

Instagram: @chrishowaard