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Exclusive: Moët Hennessy Acquires Craft Distiller Woodinville Whiskey Co.

July 12, 2017

Moët Hennessy has purchased Washington state craft whiskey distiller Woodinville Whiskey Co., SND has learned. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Moët Hennessy confirmed that it’s buying 100% of the company.

The deal is part of an ongoing trend of major drinks multinationals acquiring craft distillers. Constellation has been particularly active, last year purchasing Utah-based High West Distillery for around $160 million, while also taking minority stakes in Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Co., Virginia’s Catoctin Creek Distillery and Tennessee-based Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. Meanwhile, last year Pernod Ricard acquired control of West Virginia’s Smooth Ambler Spirits Co., while Remy Cointreau bought Washington-based Westland Distillery. Earlier this year, William Grant & Sons purchased Tuthilltown Spirits Co. in its entirety, having already acquired Tuthilltown’s largest brand, Hudson Whiskey, back in 2010.

Woodinville Whiskey Co., based in Woodinville, Washington, was launched in 2010 by entrepreneurs Orlin Sorensen and Brett Carlile. The founders will stay on and will continue to oversee operations, Moët Hennessy said. Former Maker’s Mark master distiller Dave Pickerell has been serving as consultant to the brand.

The Woodinville portfolio is led by Woodinville Straight Bourbon ($39.95) and Woodinville Straight Rye ($39.95), both at 90 proof and aged at least five years. Other labels include a three-year-old American Whiskey ($38.50, 80 proof) as well as a Micro Barreled Rye ($36.95) which is 100% rye and at 92 proof.

Woodinville does all its own distilling, and has never used third parties to supply any of its liquid. Initially, the company relied on sales of its Micro Barreled Rye until launching its Straight Bourbon in 2015, followed by the rollout of its Straight Rye in 2016. Total production is modest at present, and Woodinville’s products are sold in Washington only. But Moët Hennessy said it’s mapping aggressive plans to significantly boost production and build a national sales platform over the next few years.

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