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Spirit of Gallo invests in Horse Soldier Bourbon

The spirits arm of E&J Gallo has entered the American whiskey category after making a ‘strategic investment’ in Horse Soldier Bourbon.

Horse Soldier Bourbon
Horse Soldier Bourbon is available in 17 US states

California-headquartered wine producer E&J Gallo established Spirit of Gallo in March 2022.

The family-owned company did not disclose financial details of its investment in the Bourbon brand.

“Today marks an important date in Gallo company history as Spirit of Gallo enters the large and rapidly-growing American whiskey category,” said Britt West, senior-vice president and general manager for Spirit of Gallo.

“Horse Soldier Bourbon has built an extremely loyal consumer following and will allow us the opportunity to serve our partners and customers in new and exciting ways.”

The Bourbon brand was founded in 2016 by John Koko, Elizabeth Pritchard-Koko, Scott Neil, and retired members of the detachment of Green Berets from the 5th Special Forces Group.

The group was dubbed ‘Horse Soldiers’ after it was the first to enter Afghanistan on horseback weeks after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001.

“We have built Horse Soldier Bourbon on true American values. It’s these same values that represent this ideal alignment between Horse Soldier Bourbon and Spirit of Gallo,” said Koko, CEO and chairman of the brand.

The partnership with Spirit of Gallo positions the Bourbon for “unprecedented growth”, Koko added.

The brand is available in 17 US states with plans to go nationwide. It is currently the eighth biggest-selling ultra-premium Bourbon brand, according to IRI/Mulo data.

The brand’s range features three expressions: Straight Bourbon Whiskey (US$49.99), Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey (US$69.99), and Barrel Strength Bourbon Whiskey (US$79.99).

In October last year, Horse Soldier broke ground on a US$200 million distillery in Kentucky.

Spirit of Gallo claims to be the fourth-largest spirits supplier in the US by volume. The dedicated spirits division represents 24 brands, including New Amsterdam Vodka, Camarena Tequila, Rum Chata, Pink Whitney, Rum Haven and hard seltzer High Noon.

Earlier this month, leading figures in the American whiskey industry gathered in London to raise a glass to the end of the UK’s tariff on the category.

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