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Constellation Brands announces two minority acquisitions

Constellation Brands has acquired minority stakes in two spirits firms for undisclosed sums: the Copper & Kings American Brandy Co and The Real McCoy Rum.

Constellation Brands now owns a minority stake in craft distiller Copper & Kings

Copper & Kings, which produces a range of spirits including brandy-based gins and liqueurs, said it now needs financial “assistance” to “keep up” with the growth it is currently experiencing.

Joe Heron, Copper & Kings founder and CEO, said: “We are operating in an increasingly dynamic and changing business environment; distributor consolidation, retailers are embracing smaller, innovative craft spirits and consumers are becoming more adventurous and discerning drinkers.

“We have done a lot of hard yards to get to where we are, and we are proud of that, but we now feel the need for some assistance with the heavy lifting required to build a legacy market leader brand and investigate global expansion.

The Copper & Kings distillery

“We are going to need additional gas in the tank to keep up with the growth we are now encountering as a brand, and for the brandy category in general.

“Brown spirits have a very long-term planning horizon; 10 years or more out. Constellation’s investment will help us move forward with appropriate capital.”

Bill Newlands, Constellation Brands’ vice-president and chief operating officer, described Copper & Kings as a “scalable” company.

“Copper & Kings is scalable not only in equity, but also the inventory of aged and ageing spirits on hand,” he said. “We see our role as adding fuel to their fire. And we think it’s going to burn very bright.”

The Real McCoy

As part of its minority acquisition of The Real McCoy, Constellation Brands will also handle the distribution of the Bourbon barrel-aged rum throughout the US, as well as assisting with marketing and operations.

Richard Seale, The Real McCoy master distiller, said: “With Constellation’s investment and strategic counsel, we look forward to fully achieving our vision of expanding The Real McCoy’s reach throughout the United States.”

Constellation acquired a minority stake in The Real McCoy

All senior executive positions will remain the same at The Real McCoy, with Jennifer Pryor as CMO, John Esposito as COO, and Walter Brunner as CFO.

Vice presidents Mac Jones, Abbi Miller and Linda Lofstrom will also keep their positions, with more emphasis on key account management and expansion into new states.

Newlands commented on The Real McCoy minority acquisition: “The spirits category represents a significant growth opportunity for Constellation, and continued investments in artisan brands like The Real McCoy are part of our overall total beverage alcohol strategy.”

The news comes on the same day Constellation Brands announced its Q3 financial results for 2017/18, which highlighted growth for its recently acquired brands.

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