Did Angel’s Envy Sell Out?

When I first fell in love with bourbon, a draw for me was the fact that bourbon was all American. Nowadays, not so much.

Most of our major brands have fallen been acquired by large multinational corporations, leading to exposure to (and excessive consumption by) overseas markets.

I do my best to buy American, and I stood firmly behind the bourbon families that resisted the urge to sell their heritage. Angel’s Envy was one of those brands.

Then there’s this:

Bacardi on Monday disclosed it has acquired Louisville, Kentucky-based Angel’s Share Brands, which it says is one of the top ten fastest growing “super premium” bourbons in the U.S. Terms of the deal, which closed on Friday, weren’t disclosed. Bacardi had been an investor in the bourbon brand since 2010.

“Bourbon is a uniquely American spirit and we are blessed to be part of a bourbon revival that I think is going to last a long time,” said Wes Henderson, who co-founded the company as a family business with his father Lincoln, who passed away in 2013. His son Kyle also works for Angel’s Envy, and the family intends to remain involved with the business, which will continue as a standalone operation.

Angel’s Envy’s decision to sell comes as a number of U.S. whiskey brands have inked deals. Japan-based Suntory paid $16 billion to buy Beam Inc., which owns Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other spirits brands in one of the industry’s largest deals in recent years. Campari recently paid $575 million to buy Wild Turkey, a deal that was the Italian company’s largest acquisition ever.

Bourbon is a uniquely American spirit. But does it remain a uniquely American spirit if it is not American owned and operated?

By | 2015-04-01T20:58:40+00:00 April 1st, 2015|Speakeasy|

2 Comments

  1. kapnasty May 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    “Bourbon is a uniquely American spirit. But does it remain a uniquely American spirit if it is not American owned and operated?”

    In short yes.

  2. Sarah|PickledCapers July 22, 2015 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I think the answer lies in the word “uniquely”. The movement of operations outside the country would seem to land bourbon in the same category as many other spirits. The ingredients may be grown here (maybe), but we may now be looking at calling bourbon a “historically American” spirit.

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