The news came out last night – High West Distillery was picked up by Constellation Brands, Inc. It was rumored for several days that the Utah distillery was up for sale, with other companies placing bids. The Wall Street Journal reported the winning bid came from Constellation Brands for a staggering $160 million. Constellation Brands says it plans to keep all High West employees on as they continue business as usual.
Constellation Brands previously owned the Barton Distillery, but sold that off to Sazerac in 2009.
Here’s the full press release:
VICTOR, N.Y., Oct. 5, 2016 — Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a leading beverage alcohol company, today announced an agreement to purchase Utah-based High West Distillery. The acquisition includes all of High West’s operations and its portfolio of distinctive, award-winning and high-end American straight whiskeys. With High West, which has experienced double-digit volume growth year over year for the past three years, Constellation Brands enters the dynamic and profitable high-end craft whiskey segment. The transaction is expected to close by the end of October.
David Perkins and his wife, Jane, founded High West Distillery in 2004 with a vision to make delicious whiskey that celebrates the history and heritage of America’s Old West. High West’s proprietary blend of old and young whiskeys has received positive reviews from both industry experts and consumers. With a taste of the Old West and labels to match, consumers experience stories of cowboys, campfires, prairies and Utah history in every bottle. High West is the first legal distillery in the state of Utah since 1870. As part of the agreement, High West’s employees will join the Constellation Brands family to ensure continuity in the distinctive styles of the whiskeys.
“High West’s whiskeys are high-end, distinctive and delicious – perfect for today’s knowledgeable consumer who enjoys artfully crafted whiskeys,” said Bill Newlands, president, wine and spirits division, Constellation Brands. “With the addition of High West, Constellation Brands bolsters its position in the dynamic and growing craft spirits category. We look forward to welcoming this creative and talented team to Constellation Brands as we work together to drive growth for High West and build our premium spirits portfolio with brands that consumers love.”
“Our award-winning whiskeys are artfully blended to create unique and complex flavors inspired by the Old West,” said John Esposito, chief executive officer, High West. “We craft innovative whiskey blends that reflect our sense of adventure and pioneering spirit. When it came to the next step for High West, we wanted to work with the right partner that will help us grow further while maintaining our culture and core values. With the strength of the Constellation Brands team, we will be able to reach more consumers and continue our track record of innovation.”
The High West portfolio sells approximately 70,000 cases annually. The portfolio includes four core High West Whiskey products: American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye!, Rendezvous Rye and Campfire, the only blend of Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys on the market. In addition, High West Distillery produces several limited edition whiskeys.