Pernod takes stake in Del Maguey mezcal

Pernod Ricard, has announced that it has signed an agreement to take a majority stake in Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, said to be the leading producer of artisanal, hand-crafted mezcals and the number one mezcal brand in the US.

The company says the transaction, through Pernod Ricard USA’s New Brand Ventures division, is subject to usual condition precedents and is expected to close within 90 days.

Pernod says Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, founded in 1995 by artist and entrepreneur Ron Cooper, features a range of hand-crafted super-premium mezcals from the Oaxaca region of Mexico.

Created from a traditional process rooted in Zapotec culture, the ‘single village’ name identifies every Del Maguey product by the village in which it is made.

Cooper said: “We partnered with Pernod Ricard because they understand and appreciate our mission of preserving the culture of the Zapotec people and protecting the traditional process of making mescal.

“Through this partnership, our management team will gain increased opportunities to distribute our products to mezcal lovers around the world while also ensuring that the palenqueros – or families we work with – are able to continue crafting their liquid art for generations to come."

Under the terms of the transaction, the management team of Cooper, Michael Gardner, Steve Olson, and the rest of the Del Maguey team will remain in place. All of Del Maguey’s Mexico operations will remain intact as well.

Jeff Agdern, senior vice president of Pernod Ricard USA’s New Brand Ventures Division said: “Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal is highly respected by consumers and the industry for its brand authenticity and relationships with local farmer producers.”

Pernod says this acquisition has also been made possible thanks to Pernod Ricard Mexico teams that provided an appreciation of the link between mezcal and the economic vitality of the villages where it is produced.

Pernod Ricard chairman and CEO, Alexandre Ricard, said: “We are very impressed by Del Maguey’s successful track record and the high quality of their mezcals. This partnership illustrates our continued strategy of partnering with dynamic entrepreneurs who share our passion for authentic, high- quality crafted premium products and further extends our fantastic portfolio of genuine brands.”

Global sales of mezcal rose to a record $80m in 2015, and US volumes jumped 279% from 2005- 2015, according to International Wine & Spirits Research.