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Craft Spirits Acquisition: Constellation Brands Acquires High West Distillery

Glenmorangie Destillary

Utah-based High West Distillery was just acquired by Constellation Brands Inc., one of many leading suppliers who is continuing to fuel the trend of craft acquisitions.  Constellation paid approximately $160 million for the craft producer, who has made a name for themselves over the past decade selling blended rye whiskey.  As a category that has seen a sales increase of 609% between 2009 and 2014, High West was able to achieve annual double digit growth over the past 3 years.  With plans to open new distilleries and overall expansion, an acquisition was ultimately an important piece of their puzzle.  The acquisition will not change High West from an internal stand point, however.  John Esposito, CEO of High West, stated, “The same people will be making it.  The same people will be selling it.  That’s one of the reasons we chose Constellation.”  It is reported that Constellation beat out Pernod Ricard and LVMH in a bidding war.  The deal comes at a time when craft acquisitions are being used as an essential growth strategy for large suppliers.