Diageo to acquire Mezcal UniónBy Kate Malczewski
Spirits giant Diageo is expanding its agave spirits portfolio with the purchase of Casa UM, owner of the Mezcal Unión brand.
Mezcal Unión was founded in 2011 by a group of Mexican entrepreneurs with the aim of growing the category and keeping traditional production methods alive.
Its spirits are made by partnering with a network of agave farmers and distillers, adhering to artisanal methods.
Diageo has worked with Mezcal Unión for the past five years, growing the Oaxacan brand’s distribution in Mexico, the US and beyond. Now the international firm has agreed to buy the mezcal’s parent company, Casa UM, for an undisclosed sum.
The Johnnie Walker owner will usher Mezcal Unión into its Reserve portfolio along with agave spirits brands including Don Julio and Casamigos – the latter of which it purchased in 2017 in a massive US$1 billion deal.
The acquisition will give Diageo a new foothold in the burgeoning mezcal category, which grew in value from MXN$6.9bn pesos to MXN$8.2bn pesos (US$349.5 million to US$413.3m) in 2020, according to the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal.
In May 2018, Diageo snapped up super-premium mezcal brand Pierde Almas.
Mónica Michel, marketing and innovation director for Diageo in Mexico, said: “Our story with Mezcal Unión began with a distribution partnership in 2016 and we are now taking it to a new level.
“We are delighted to continue working with its founders and welcome this brand to our Reserve portfolio, which includes exceptional brands across exciting and fast-growing categories like Tequila and mezcal.”
Mezcal Unión’s founders will remain with the business, and the brand will maintain its existing relationships with agave farmers and master distillers in Oaxaca after the acquisition.
Alejandro Gutierrez Champion, Mezcal Unión co-founder, commented: “We believe in the power of transformation through collaboration. This approach has supported both the growth of the brand and of local communities and agave farmers in Oaxaca.
“We are proud to have delighted consumers with an excellent artisanal-craft mezcal and are confident that as part of Diageo, one of the largest and most respected spirits companies in the world, Mezcal Unión will continue to support development of the category, open doors to new markets and strengthen our brand mission.”
The acquisition will be funded through existing cash.