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Diageo Adds Upscale Mezcal Pierde Almas To Stable

May 3, 2018

Diageo has acquired luxury mezcal brand Pierde Almas for an undisclosed sum. Founded by entrepreneur Jonathan Barbieri a decade ago, Pierde Almas is made in Oaxaca, Mexico using artisanal production techniques. The brand, whose retail pricing starts at around $69, will join Diageo’s ultra-premium portfolio, with Barbieri staying on board as brand ambassador and master distiller. The purchase follows Diageo’s launch of Casamigos Mezcal—an offshoot of its Casamigos Tequila brand—last month. Casamigos Mezcal also plays in the luxury price range, at $60 a 750-ml.

Though the U.S. market’s total mezcal volumes remain modest, at under 400,000 cases, the category is fast expanding, with shipments roughly quadrupling over the past half-decade. As a result, several other major spirits players have bet big on the segment in recent years, including Pernod Ricard, which acquired a majority stake in Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal ($35-$200) last summer, and Bacardi, which took on a minority interest in the Ilegal Mezcal brand (around $45-$100) early last year. Proximo has also entered the upscale mezcal category with its Creyente brand ($50), launched in 2016.—Christina Jelski

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