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Clyde May’s Whiskey Looks To Become A Player In The Premium Spirits Arena

April 8, 2016

Clyde May’s Whiskey, named for a notorious Alabama moonshiner who died in 1990, was acquired in 2014 by a group led by investor James Ammeen. The company’s namesake brand is an 85-proof, 5-year-old blended whiskey ($35) that contains flavors including apple essence—replicating the Clyde May’s original recipe that dates back to 1946. The portfolio also includes Special Reserve, a 6-year-old, 110-proof whiskey ($60). In July, Clyde May’s will launch a 92-proof Straight Bourbon ($40) as well as an 8-year-old, 118-proof Cask Strength offering ($100).

“The new line extensions will add significant volume, improve our shelf presence and offer trade-up opportunities,” says president and CEO Roy Danis, the former Campari America executive who was tapped to lead Clyde May’s last fall. The brand is currently in 40 states and is handled by Breakthru Beverage in 11 states, RNDC in 11 states and Southern Wine & Spirits in three states. Last year, the Clyde May’s brand grew by 70% over 2014, and this year it’s expected to double sales.

The Clyde May’s whiskies are sourced in Kentucky, though the company declines to disclose the specific distiller. The Bourbon is sent to Florida Distillers, which finishes and bottles the product. But Clyde May’s intends to open its own distillery in Alabama. “We’re scouting locations,” Danis adds. “We plan to break ground later this year and be up and running by mid-2017. We want to produce about half of our annual supply there. Through contract buying, we’ve laid down whiskey for the next eight or nine years, which is a significant commitment.”

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