Constellation Brands, through its venture capital group, has acquired a minority stake in US craft alcohol firm Black Button Distilling, in a move to fill white space in its spirits portfolio.
As part of the deal, Black Button will continue to produce, market and sell its range of spirits such as its Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Citrus Forward Gin, seasonal Lilac Gin and Bespoke Bourbon Cream.
The firm was founded in Rochester, New York, in 2012 by Jason Barrett. Sales have more than tripled since 2014, and in 2017 the company expanded and opened a tasting room and bottle shop in Buffalo, New York.
Over 90% of ingredients in Black Button’s spirits are grown or produced in New York State. It now makes 115,000 bottles of spirits each year, distributed in 11 US states and Japan.
Barrett said: “For us to continue the growth rate we believe we are capable of, it was time to find an equity partner. But we didn’t want just any equity partner. We wanted someone who understood our business, our culture and our goals.
“We found that partner right in our back yard. Constellation shares our love of western NY and they are also committed to the agricultural roots that are so important to Black Button. This partnership is great for our employees, our ownership, our farmers and our consumers because we will be able to bring more great Black Button products to our community.”
Bill Newlands, Constellation Brands COO and incoming CEO, added: “As a company headquartered in the Greater Rochester region, we’re especially proud to make this investment in this local favourite.
“Black Button has a proven track record of producing premium craft spirits that resonate with consumers and they have a variety of products that are aligned to consumer trends and fill white space within Constellation’s spirits portfolio. With our shared knowledge, experience and guidance, we will work together to help Black Button grow and expand the brands that craft spirits enthusiasts have come to know and love.”
In its third-quarter results posted last month, Constellation recorded a 0.4% rise in net sales for its wine and spirits segment, while the firm’s beer division grew 16%.
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