In an exclusive report, Shanken News Daily informed us after the market close yesterday that Constellation Brands emerged victorious in a heated auction for craft whiskey darling High West Distillery, of Park City, Utah, beating out other large spirit company suitors. These included both Pernod Ricard and LVMH Moët. According to Constellation, High West is already generating $25 million in annual whiskey sales and the deal closed with a purchase price of roughly $160 million.
High West currently distills and matures some of their own whiskey, but it was their innovative sourced whiskeys, particularly blends of mature whiskeys from MGP Ingredients in Indiana and Sazerac’s Barton 1792 distillery in Kentucky, that earned them a loyal following and generally performed very well in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide. Notable offerings include Rendezvous Rye Batch 10 (95 Points Whisky Advocate), Double Rye (90 Points Whisky Advocate), Campfire (84 Points Whisky Advocate) and special release Midwinter Night’s Dram Act 3 (95 Points Whisky Advocate).
High West founder Dave Perkins tells Whisky Advocate “At the end of the day, this allows us to continue to make whiskey that folks have come to love. That’s the reason we chose Constellation Brands as a partner. To afford the other stills and expansions we want to make at the distillery over the next ten years, we realized becoming part of an organization like Constellation Brands made sense.”
Let’s Make a Deal
High West is the most recent, but certainly not the first, craft whiskey distiller to strike a deal with an international drinks company since competition in the American whiskey arena began to heat up. Consumers may ultimately decide whether large corporations purchasing of craft distillers is a positive or negative force for quality and availability.
Wm. Grant & Sons of the U.K. formed a partnership for the production and worldwide distribution of New York-based Tuthilltown Spirits’ line of Hudson Whiskey, the first acquisition of an American whiskey brand in their portfolio.
Spirits producers, importers and marketers Proximo Spirits, based in Jersey City, N.J., and owned by Mexico’s Beckmann family (1800 Tequila), quietly closed a deal for the purchase of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.
Italy’s Gruppo Campari took a 100% ownership stake of independent Canadian craft distiller Forty Creek Distillery Ltd., in their first move into Canadian whisky.
Family-owned Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, entered the bourbon category by acquiring Louisville-based Angel’s Share Brands, producers of Angel’s Envy, even before they began their own production vente de viagra en suisse.