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Campari Acquires Stake In Howler Head Banana Bourbon

August 24, 2022

Campari Group has announced an agreement with Catalyst Spirits to acquire an initial 15% interest in Howler Head, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with natural banana flavor, for $15 million, including a path to complete ownership and exclusive exclusive global distribution rights. The brand was founded by UFC president Dana White, and partnered with industry veteran Simon Hunt’s new Catalyst Spirits group.

“Campari Group has a proven track record for building global brands that consumers truly love and we can think of no better partner as we expand distribution of Howler Head around the world, as well as tap into the vast potential that remains in our existing markets of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.,” said Hunt, CEO of Catalyst Spirits.

Howler Head, an 80-proof whiskey that sources its Bourbon from Green River Distilling in Owensboro, Kentucky, is blended with natural banana flavor. Retailing at $30 a bottle, it’s recommended as a shot, an accompaniment to beer or hard seltzer, or for use in cocktails. The brand is off to a fast start, reaching 55,000 9-liter cases in its first year, with pronounced growth across markets including California, Florida, Michigan, and New York as well as control states.

“With Bourbon whiskey serving as one of our global priority brand pillars, Howler Head is an ideal fit for our portfolio,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group. “In addition to being an exceptionally high-quality liquid, Howler Head has established a clearly unique brand personality and, through its deep relationship with UFC, has a huge on-tap worldwide fanbase ready to enjoy this fantastic Bourbon.”

Campari Group agreed to pay $15 million in cash in the first stage of path to total ownership, for a 15% interest in the brand. Campari can acquire 100% of Howler Head through customary call options based on the future brand results, which can be exercised starting from 2025. The call option valuations imply “compelling growth of Howler Head case sales and revenue at each stage of the transaction in the future.”

Howler Head has leveraged exposure as the official flavored whiskey partner of UFC to seed growth. “With UFC’s global fanbase of nearly 700 million in more than 170 countries, this is just the beginning,” said White.—Daniel Marsteller

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