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Diageo buys Pierde Almas mezcal

Diageo has acquired super-premium mezcal brand Pierde Almas as it seeks to develop the mezcal category in Mexico and around the world.

The Pierde Almas mezcal range includes Tobaziche, Tobalá, Mexicano and Pechuga

Pierde Almas is produced in Oaxaca, Mexico from 100% naturally fermented agave. The brand is known for having a strong focus on social, cultural and environment awareness.

Pierde Almas will be the second mezcal brand to join Diageo’s portfolio, following the company’s launch of a mezcal under its recently acquired Casamigos Tequila brand. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The spirits giant acquired Casamigos from George Clooney and Rande Gerber last year, in a deal worth up to US$1 billion.

“We are excited about this acquisition and the opportunity it brings to support the sustainable growth of mezcal and the communities in Oaxaca where it is produced,” said Erik Seiersen, Diageo Mexico CEO.

“In the last five years, consumer appreciation of mezcal has been growing rapidly in Mexico and abroad and we believe the category will continue to develop.”

Founder Jonathan Barbieri will continue to work with Diageo as brand ambassador and master distiller.

Barbieri added: “I am looking forward to working with Diageo to take Pierde Almas to its next stage of development. Diageo shares our commitment to the values behind every bottle of artisan mezcal.

“That means environmental responsibility and respect for the culture, communities and individuals that produce it.

“We are confident that this acquisition will have a positive impact on the brand and the category as a whole. It represents not only a growth opportunity for Pierde Almas, but a chance for us to unleash the full potential of our social, cultural and environmental commitment.”

Diageo is not the only big player to make a move into mezcal. Bacardi took a minority stake in Ilegal last February and Pernod Ricard made its first foray into the category with the acquisition of a majority stake in Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal.

According to Euromonitor figures, Tequila and mezcal are predicted to grow joint global volumes by more than 10 million litres in 2017 – a clear sign of the number of new players on the market today.

Mezcal is one of the fastest growing categories in the US. Between 2010 and 2015, Tequila and mezcal grew 30% by volume in the market – more than any other alcohol category bar Cognac – and faster than the global average, which sits at 22%.

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