Bacardi acquires Angel’s Envy BourbonBy Amy Hopkins
Bacardi has entered the fast-growing American whiskey sector for the first time with the acquisition of Angel’s Envy Bourbon.
The privately owned Bermuda-based drinks company purchased the Louisville-based Angel’s Share Brands, its subsidiary the Louisville Distilling Co. (LDC), and its Angel’s Envy Brand for an undisclosed sum.
Until now, Bacardi has been without a presence in the American whiskey category, however in February last year its former CEO Ed Shirley suggested the group might be looking to fill the “obvious gap” in its portfolio.
“We have a clear strategy aligned to meet consumer needs in premium spirits and are building an even stronger portfolio through innovation and acquisition,” said Bacardi’s new CEO Mike Dolan.
“The purchase of Angel’s Share Brands and the Angel’s Envy portfolio further reinforces our commitment to growing the super-premium spirits sector.”
A Bacardi spokesperson said the company’s UK distribution partnership with American whiskey producer Brown-Forman would remain unchanged.
Angel’s Envy is a port cask finished Bourbon blended in “small batches” of eight to 12 barrels.
First created by the late master distiller Lincoln Henderson, an inaugural member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame, the brand is thought to be one of the top 10 fastest growing super-premium Bourbons in the US.
It will continue to operate as a standalone business, meaning business structure, employee base, production, distribution, commercial and marketing activities will remain unchanged.
In particular Wes Henderson, global brand ambassador and COO for Angel’s Envy and member of its founding family, will continue to be “directly involved” in the future of the business.
Currently, LDC is building a US$12 million distillery and “brand experience” centre for Angel’s Envy in the centre of Louisville, Kentucky.
“Bacardi has a long history of successful acquisitions of cutting-edge brands,” said Barry Kabalkin, vice chairman of Bacardi Limited. “Bacardi looks for the gems of innovation in the spirits world to complement our premium and super-premium brands, and Angel’s Envy is a natural fit for our portfolio.”
“We are thrilled to add Angel’s Envy, one of the most exciting brands in the North American whiskey category today, to our highly focused portfolio of iconic brands.”
Bacardi notes that the American straight whiskey category as a whole has grown nearly 5% over the past five years, while the super-premium American straight segment has grown nearly 10%.
Angel’s Envy currently has three expressions in its range: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Angel’s Envy Finished Rye, and Angel’s Envy Cask Strength.