AB InBev to acquire San Diego’s Cutwater Spirits

21st February, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev has signed a deal to buy US canned cocktail and spirits producer Cutwater Spirits for an undisclosed sum.

Cutwater Spirits, based in San Diego, produces 14 spirits-based canned cocktails

San Diego-based Cutwater Spirits was founded in 2006 under the name of Ballast Point Spirits as an offshoot of the Ballast Point Brewing Company.

The spirits firm was rebranded in 2016 as Cutwater Spirits following Constellation Brands’ US$1 billion acquisition of the company’s beer arm in 2015.

Cutwater Spirits has a portfolio of seven premium mixers, 14 spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails and 16 spirits spanning whiskey, vodka, gin and rum.

The spirits range includes Devil’s Share American Whiskey, Black Skimmer American Rye, Fugu Vodka, Old Grove Gin, Three Sheets Rum, Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum and Opah Herbal Liqueur.

Cutwater Spirits will now join AB InBev’s ‘Beyond Beer’ range, which includes flavoured malt beverage brands Ritas and Spiked Seltzer, canned sparkling rosé Babe Rosé and energy drink brand Hiball.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will allow Cutwater Spirits to “leverage Anheuser-Busch’s expertise in logistics and distribution, brand building and packaging to scale the brand even faster”.

Marina Hahn, new business co-founder, Anheuser-Busch, said: “We have tremendous respect for the brand that Cutwater Spirits has created and cultivated in just a few years and look forward to working with them to expand their premium canned cocktails to consumers across the US.”

The RTD producer currently distributes to 34 US states and has experienced “double and triple-digit growth since inception”. The Californian company operates from a 50,000-square-foot production facility.

Cutwater Spirits will continue to be managed by co-founder Yuseff Cherney, Earl Kight, and other senior-level managers.

“We’re thrilled to have found a partner that understands our vision for Cutwater Spirits and will give us with the tools and resources to grow and thrive,” said Cherney.

“We’re excited to join A-B [Anheuser-Busch] and work with the team there to bring our spirits and canned cocktails to the world.”

The acquisition is not the beer goliath’s first foray into spirits. In April last year, ZX Ventures, which is the growth and innovation unit of AB InBev, purchased Atom Group for an undisclosed sum.

The UK-headquartered group is made up of three business units: online retailer Master of Malt, spirits producer Atom Brands, and distributor Maverick Drinks, which is dedicated to ‘craft’ spirits.

Atom Brands’ portfolio includes the Ableforth’s line of spirits, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, That Boutique-y Gin Company, and more.

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