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Campari Enters Mezcal, Taking Majority Stake In Montelobos, Ancho Reyes

October 9, 2019

Campari Group is entering the fast-rising mezcal category, agreeing to take a 51% stake in the Montelobos brand as well as sister label Ancho Reyes spicy liqueur. The two brands had sales of approximately $7 million last year, with the U.S. accounting for two-thirds of the business. The purchase price was $35.7 million, and the deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

Montelobos and Ancho Reyes are currently handled by William Grant & Sons in the U.S. Montelobos jumped 54% to 10,000 cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank. Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said the move is part of the company’s strategy to “continue to premiumize our portfolio with a particular focus on the key U.S. market, enhancing our exposure to the strategic premium on-premise distribution channel.”

Mezcal has been on a steep rise in the U.S., with 288,000 cases depleted in in 2018, according to Impact Databank—up from just 65,000 cases in 2013. That rapid growth has pressured agave supply in the spirit’s native Mexico. Earlier this year, Montelobos co-founder Ivan Saldaña told SND, “The big question for all agave spirits, not just mezcal, is the balance between supply and demand. There are brands that are strongly invested in securing their own agave supply, and I think that’s the way to go. Partnering with farmers and paying the right prices is also important.” Montelobos currently controls 100% of its agave supply.—Daniel Marsteller

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