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Heaven Hill Acquires Impact Hot Brand Admiral Nelson From Luxco

June 3, 2011

Heaven Hill Distilleries is set to add nearly 700,000 cases in yearly volume to its portfolio with the agreed-on purchase of Admiral Nelson rum from Luxco for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which is subject to customary approvals and expected to close July 31st, dramatically increases Heaven Hill’s scale within the rum category, where it also markets the Whaler’s, Burnett’s, Aristocrat and Blackheart brands.

A perennial Impact Hot Brand, the value-priced Admiral Nelson has only picked up speed through the economic downturn, with its depletions more than doubling from 2007 through 2010. The brand—which sells for around $10 a bottle and includes Coconut, Raspberry, Vanilla and Cherry flavors in addition to its core spiced rum—averaged 28% annual growth during that period, rising to 675,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank. Heaven Hill’s rum sales prior to the deal numbered roughly half that figure across the aforementioned brands.

Speaking to Shanken News Daily this afternoon, Heaven Hill president Max Shapira said, “Not only does Admiral Nelson have incredible momentum in the marketplace currently, but we also think it’s in the sweet spot for how consumers plan to spend their alcoholic beverage dollars looking ahead for quite some period of time. It plugs a general gap in our portfolio with a nationwide brand. We have a variety of rums across the country, but we haven’t had a brand of this stature that we can really push behind.”

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