Pernod Ricard buys majority stake in Inverroche DistilleryBy Nicola Carruthers
French drinks group Pernod Ricard has acquired a majority stake in South African spirits producer Inverroche Distillery for an undisclosed sum.
The deal – which is expected to close shortly – was made through the firm’s South African subsidiary Pernod Ricard South Africa.
Based in the Cape Floral region, Inverroche pioneered the use of indigenous plant Fynbos in its gins. Fynbos grows in the Western Cape and has been used by indigenous people for medicinal and culinary purposes. The rare flora is now under threat “due to agricultural development and invasive alien plants”.
The Inverroche range consists of three gins – Gin Classic, Gin Verdant, and Gin Amber – two limited edition gins, two rums and three liqueurs. Inverroche releases a limited edition gin every year.
The majority of Inverroche’s team is made up of local people with 70% of the employees being indigenous women.
Lorna Scott, founder and CEO of Inverroche, will remain both a shareholder and CEO.
Founded in December 2011, Inverroche has grown from a small local brand to the “largest South African artisanal gin brand” in eight years. Inverroche’s products are available in 18 countries on four continents.
Pernod Ricard said the deal increases the firm’s presence in the “dynamic sub-Saharan Africa spirits market, where gin growth is accelerating exponentially”. The acquisition of Inverroche also comes just eight months after the French group’s investment in African online retailer Jumia.
“I am thrilled to partner with Pernod Ricard,” said Scott.
“The group’s vast distribution network will enable Inverroche Gins to reach new consumers.
“We will be taking a luxury African brand to a large audience and sharing the story of our common heritage.”
Paul-Robert Bouhier, managing director of Pernod Ricard Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “Inverroche Gins nicely complement our portfolio. We are excited to further contribute to their success in South Africa and to support their development throughout sub-Saharan Africa.”
The acquisition comes just months after Pernod Ricard acquired Italian super-premium gin brand Malfy for an undisclosed sum.
Malfy joins Pernod’s largest gin brands – Beefeater, Plymouth and Seagram’s – in the the firm’s independent unit The Gin Hub.