Bacardi buys a bourbon

Bacardi's purchase of Angel’s Envy marks the company’s entry into the bourbon category of the North American whiskey sector.

The largest privately held spirits company in the world, bought the brand from Louisville-based Angel’s Share Brands, its subsidiary, Louisville Distilling Co., and its Angel’s Envy brand.

Bacardi Limited CEO Mike Dolan said: “We have a clear strategy aligned to meet consumer needs in premium spirits and are building an even stronger portfolio through innovation and acquisition. The purchase of Angel’s Share Brands and the Angel’s Envy portfolio further reinforces our commitment to growing the super-premium spirits sector,”

Angel’s Envy port finished bourbon, the flagship brand, is one of the top ten fastest growing super-premium bourbons in the US. Bacardi says the American straight category as a whole has experienced a resurgence in the past five years with a nearly 5% growth rate while the super-premium American straight segment has grown nearly 10% during the same time.

“We are thrilled to add Angel’s Envy, one of the most exciting brands in the North American whiskey category today, to our highly focused portfolio of iconic brands,” said Barry Kabalkin, vice chairman of Bacardi Limited.

Angel’s Envy will continue as a standalone operation, so the employee base, production, distribution, commercial and marketing activities will remain unchanged. Angel’s Envy’s new distillery and brand experience centre in Louisville is planned for a 2016 opening and will, it is said, showcase the tradition of Kentucky bourbon-making.

Angel’s Envy was created by the late master distiller Lincoln Henderson, said to be one of the original pioneers of the premium bourbon and whiskey categories in the US and an inaugural member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame. The brand is hand-blended in small batches of 8 to 12 barrels.

The ways of making Angel’s Envy have been preserved by three generations of the Henderson family. Global brand ambassador Wes Henderson will continue to be directly involved with the Angel’s Envy, said Bacardi Limited chairman Facundo L. Bacardi, a fifth generation Bacardi family member.

The three expressions of Angel’s Envy are currently available in US on- and off-premise.