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Mark Anthony Brands takes ownership of Glendalough

Dublin-based drinks distribution group Mark Anthony Brands International (MABI) has acquired the remaining 60% stake in Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery for an undisclosed sum.

County Wicklow-based Glendalough Distillery produces Irish whiskey, gin and poitín

Part of Vancouver-headquartered alcohol firm Mark Anthony Group, MABI first acquired a 40% stake in the Irish gin and whiskey maker for €5.5m (US$6.1m) in August 2016.

“As the pioneer of craft Irish whiskey and gin, Glendalough has quickly established itself as one of Ireland’s leading premium spirit brands,” said MABI chief executive David Nugent.

“The Glendalough portfolio presents a truly differentiated offering in both Irish whiskey and gin, which uniquely positions the company for significant success, not only in Ireland and North America but in many other international markets.

“As investors since 2016 we have witnessed at first hand the passion and hard work from our Glendalough colleagues in growing their business and we are delighted to now welcome them into the Mark Anthony family”.

In addition, former Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll became a part-owner of Glendalough Distillery in August 2014. Terms of his stake were not disclosed at the time.

Barry Gallagher and Brian Fagan founded Glendalough, which claims to be Ireland’s first craft distillery, in 2011. The site also produces poitín and recently launched a pink gin.

The Glendalough business will continue to operate as a separate firm from MABI under the leadership of the existing management team, led by Gallagher and Fagan.

Glendalough director Fagan said: “It’s been an incredible journey for the whole team here at Glendalough. The successes we have enjoyed have been as a direct result of all the hard work of our innovative and passionate team.

“In 2016 we welcomed Mark Anthony Brands on board as a shareholder. They have always shared our vision for Glendalough and supported our efforts to grow the business.

“We are excited to now become full members of the Mark Anthony family and look forward to building the brand together”.

Glendalough’s Irish distribution was recently taken on by Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, while Mark Anthony Crafted Spirits distributes the portfolio in the US.

The County Wicklow-based company’s US sales are forecast to grow by 50% in 2019, following 35% growth last year.

Glendalough’s range is now available in more than 40 international markets.

MABI owns a number of ready-to-drink brands including White Claw Hard Seltzer.

The company moved into spirits last year with the launch of “experimental” Canadian whisky brand Bearface. According to its master blender Andres Faustinelli, Bearface is planning to release a new line extension each year.

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