Constellation Brands Acquires High West Distillery for $160 Million
It was announced yesterday that Constellation Brands, Inc. purchased High West Distillery for $160 Million. Constellation as well as Pernod Ricard and LVMH Moët were involved in a bidding war at least since September 9th of this year. Bloomberg published a story that day announcing that Pernod Ricard among others was bidding on High West. I shrugged off the story as bullshit and reached out to the man himself, David Perkins, for comment. You can read that exchange here as well as check out the Bloomberg article. In retrospect I probably should have done a better job reading between the lines.
What does this mean for High West Distillery? David Perkins will stay on as the Brand Ambassador while CEO John Esposito runs the company. Although not mentioned below in the Press Release it was stated in a WSJ article that HW's 200 employees will be retained. That is great news as those folks in addition to David Perkins and Brendan Coyle are responsible for the success of the company and the brand.
If you read my blog regularly you know I am a huge fan boy of HW products, especially the finished variants of Double Rye! and Rendezvous Rye. I really do hope that this does not change the quality of the products that HW is currently blending and finishing. That would be an absolute shame considering how revered this brand is among American whiskey enthusiasts everywhere.
You can check out the Press Release below. Cheers.
Award-Winning High West Distillery Joins Constellation Brands
Expands Portfolio into Booming Craft Spirits Category with High-End Whiskey
VICTOR, N.Y., Oct. 5, 2016 — Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a leading beverage alcohol company, today announced an agreement to purchase Utah-based High West Distillery. The acquisition includes all of High West’s operations and its portfolio of distinctive, award-winning and high-end American straight whiskeys. With High West, which has experienced double-digit volume growth year over year for the past three years, Constellation Brands enters the dynamic and profitable high-end craft whiskey segment. The transaction is expected to close by the end of October.
David Perkins and his wife, Jane, founded High West Distillery in 2004 with a vision to make delicious whiskey that celebrates the history and heritage of America’s Old West. High West’s proprietary blend of old and young whiskeys has received positive reviews from both industry experts and consumers. With a taste of the Old West and labels to match, consumers experience stories of cowboys, campfires, prairies and Utah history in every bottle. High West is the first legal distillery in the state of Utah since 1870. As part of the agreement, High West’s employees will join the Constellation Brands family to ensure continuity in the distinctive styles of the whiskeys.
“High West’s whiskeys are high-end, distinctive and delicious – perfect for today’s knowledgeable consumer who enjoys artfully crafted whiskeys,” said Bill Newlands, president, wine and spirits division, Constellation Brands. “With the addition of High West, Constellation Brands bolsters its position in the dynamic and growing craft spirits category. We look forward to welcoming this creative and talented team to Constellation Brands as we work together to drive growth for High West and build our premium spirits portfolio with brands that consumers love.”
“Our award-winning whiskeys are artfully blended to create unique and complex flavors inspired by the Old West,” said John Esposito, chief executive officer, High West. “We craft innovative whiskey blends that reflect our sense of adventure and pioneering spirit. When it came to the next step for High West, we wanted to work with the right partner that will help us grow further while maintaining our culture and core values. With the strength of the Constellation Brands team, we will be able to reach more consumers and continue our track record of innovation.”
The High West portfolio sells approximately 70,000 cases annually. The portfolio includes four core High West Whiskey products: American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye!, Rendezvous Rye and Campfire, the only blend of Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys on the market. In addition, High West Distillery produces several limited edition whiskeys.
About Constellation Brands
Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B) is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Italy. Constellation is a Fortune 500® company and one of the top performing stocks in the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index. Constellation is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S. In addition, Constellation is the world’s leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and Jackson-Triggs. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka and Casa Noble Tequila.
Based in Victor, N.Y., the company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to brand building, our trade partners, the environment, our investors and to consumers around the world who choose our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. Founded in 1945, Constellation has grown to become a significant player in the beverage alcohol industry with more than 100 brands in its portfolio, sales in approximately 100 countries, about 40 facilities and approximately 9,000 talented employees. We express our company vision: to elevate life with every glass raised. To learn more, visit www.cbrands.com.
About High West Distillery
Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, High West's passion is crafting delicious and distinctive whiskeys and helping people appreciate whiskey all in the context of our home, the American West. High West offers an outstanding collection of highly rated whiskeys in finer liquor stores, bars, and restaurants in 49 states throughout the U.S. and internationally.
High West must-visit locations include our High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah. A 30,000 square foot world-class distillery and visitor center featuring educational tours and High West’s unique country-western cuisine. For more information and where to buy High West products near you, visit highwest.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements. The word “expect” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. Those statements may relate to Constellation Brands’ business strategy, future operations, prospects, plans and objectives of management, as well as information concerning expected actions of third parties. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in or implied by the forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that any transaction between Constellation Brands and High West Distillery will occur or will occur on the timetable contemplated hereby. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. Constellation Brands undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
In addition to risks associated with ordinary business operations, the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are subject to other risks and uncertainties, including completion of the announced transaction, the accuracy of all projections, and other factors and uncertainties disclosed from time to time in Constellation Brands, Inc.’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Feb. 29, 2016, which could cause actual future performance to differ from current expectations.