Milestone Brands buys Empress 1908 Gin
Texas-based spirits company Milestone Brands has acquired Victoria Distillers, producer of Empress 1908, the number one super-premium gin in Canada.
Milestone Brands said Victoria Distillers is one of the oldest ‘artisan’ distilleries in Canada. As part of the transaction, Milestone has also purchased Azzurre Spirits, the US importer of Empress 1908 Gin.
Since its launch in 2017, Empress 1908 Gin has grown to more than 200,000 cases globally while achieving more than 100% growth in 2021.
Empress 1908 is described as the second-biggest super-premium gin in the US and the fastest-growing super-premium gin in North America.
As part of the deal, Milestone Brands has acquired the Victoria-based distillery for Empress 1908 Gin, as well as a new packaging facility that opened in February 2022 in Vancouver
Founder Peter Hunt, who will continue to lead Victoria Distillers as president, said: “I am excited to see the next chapter of growth for Empress 1908 Gin as well as Victoria Distillers with the stewardship and support of our new parent Milestone Brands.”
The entire Victoria Distillers workforce will remain in place, as well as the US-based Azzurre Spirits team.
Eric Dopkins, CEO and founder of Milestone, said: “The Victoria Distillers team as well as the Azzurre Spirits team in the US have truly built a world-class brand in Empress 1908 Gin… from the liquid, packaging, name, quality, and overall marketing of such a differentiated innovation in the super spirits category.”
Milestone Brands’ Dulce Vida Tequila is leading the company’s growth, and is on track to reach 125,000 nine-litre cases in 2022. Milestone is slated to surpass 400,000 nine-litre cases in 2022 with this new acquisition.
At the same time as the acquisition, Milestone Brands entered into a strategic partnership with BDT Capital Partners to fund the firm’s acquisitions and its next stage of growth.
The deal means BDT now owns a ‘significant’ minority stake in Milestone through its affiliated funds.
Milestone Brands was founded in February 2016 by Eric Dopkins, former CEO of Deep Eddy Vodka, and Chad Aulter, creator of Savvy Vodka and co-founder of Deep Eddy.
Milestone’s portfolio includes Dulche Vida Spirits, Campo Bravo Tequila, Naranja Orange Liqueur and American Born Whiskey.