Brown-Forman buys Fords GinBy Amy Hopkins
Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman has entered the fast-growing super-premium gin category with the acquisition of Fords Gin maker The 86 Company.
Brown-Forman has reached a “definitive agreement” to purchase The 86 Company, an independent New York-based firm that targets the bartending community with its spirits range.
Launched in 2012 by Simon Ford, Jason Kosmos and Dushan Zaric, the business specialises in spirits that are “made for mixing”. In addition to Fords Gin, its portfolio includes Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Caña Brava rum and Tequila Cabeza.
The products were developed with input from professional bartenders, while the recipe for Fords Gin was created as part of a collaboration between Simon Ford and Charles Maxwell, of Thames Distillers. Made with a traditional base of juniper and coriander, the gin is steeped for 15 hours before distillation.
“Fords Gin is a unique brand with terrific momentum in one of the fastest growing categories in spirits,” said Lawson Whiting, president and CEO of Brown-Forman. “We look forward to building Fords Gin into another iconic brand in our portfolio.”
Brown-Forman launched flavoured gin Stellar in 2005, however then brand is not currently listed in its portfolio.
According to Brown-Forman, Simon Ford and The 86 Company “will remain a key part of the building and crafting of Fords Gin going forward”. The deal will include the Fords Gin trademark and “other assets” of The 86 Company, and is expected to close within 30 days.
Simon Ford said: “Brown-Forman is a great partner to bring Fords Gin to more bartenders and consumers in the US and around the world while keeping our commitment to producing a unique, high quality, mixable gin.
“We’re extremely thankful to all our supporters who have been championing the brand since the beginning and look forward to seeing what the future holds with our new collaborators.”