Grimsby, Ont. – Gruppo Campari, an Italy-based drinks company known for its bitters, has acquired the Ontario distillery, Forty Creek Distillery Ltd. for $185.6 million.
The transaction includes Forty Creek Distillery’s full portfolio, stocks, distillery facilities and a hospitality centre located in Grimsby. The deal is expected to close in June.
Forty Creek Distillery is a large independent Canadian-owned craft distillery. Its flagship brand, Forty Creek Whisky, is the fastest growing brand in the Canadian whisky category.
“Through this acquisition we enter the very large and appealing Canadian Whisky category, thus premiumizing our brand portfolio, driving a richer product mix and further leveraging the revival of brown spirits,” says Jean Jacques Dubau, Gruppo Campari’s managing director for North America.
“Moreover, integrating this business will enable us to internalize key activities in the Canadian market as well as position us for further growth in our core U.S. market.”
Forty Creek was founded in 1992 by John Hall. The Forty Creek brand is credited with bringing heritage, craftsmanship and creativity back to the Canadian whisky category and driving the whisky renaissance forward in Canada.
Forty Creek Distillery’s brand portfolio includes whisky, vodka, brandy, rum and liqueurs, with Forty Creek Whisky as its core brand. The Forty Creek whisky family includes Barrel Select, Copper Pot Reserve, Forty Creek Cream Whisky and offers high-end, limited releases including Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Double Barrel and an annual special John K. Hall Reserve release.
Forty Creek whiskies are three-time Canadian Whisky of the Year champions at the Canadian Whisky Awards (2010-12) and recently captured five gold medals as Best Tasting Whiskies at the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago (2014).
After the acquisition, all the business structures and processes in place will remain unchanged in Canada. The acquired business will maintain its business model in Canada. In fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, the acquired business achieved total net sales of CDN$34.2 million, of which Forty Creek Whisky represents around 62 per cent. In fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, the acquired business is expecting to achieve total net sales of CDN$39.5 million, showing an increase of +15.6 per cent compared to the previous year.
Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. was founded in 1860 and today is the sixth-largest player worldwide in the premium spirits industry – with this new acquisition it becomes the fifth.
The Group’s portfolio includes more than 50 brands, spanning spirits, wines and soft drinks. Some of its popular brands include Aperol, Appleton, Campari, Cinzano, SKYY Vodka, and Wild Turkey. Headquartered in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy, Campari owns 15 plants and four wineries worldwide and has its own distribution network in 16 countries. The Group employs more than 4,000 people.