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Eastside Distilling acquires majority stake in Big Bottom Distilling

Published 01 May 2017

Eastside Distilling has acquired a controlling stake in Big Bottom Distilling (BBD), a Hillsboro, Oregon-based distiller of super premium gins, whiskeys, brandies, rum, and vodka.

BBD was founded by Ted Pappas, a past president of the Oregon Distillers Guild. BBD will continue to operate as a distinct business entity and produce spirits in collaboration with Eastside's Master Distiller and EVP of Operations, Melissa "Mel" Heim.

Eastside intends to place BBD's craft spirits into joint distribution, on a selective basis, with Portland Potato Vodka, Burnside Bourbon, Cherry Bomb, Coffee Rum, Marionberry Whiskey and its other popular craft spirits.

The extensive BBD product portfolio includes several craft spirits that are highly complementary to Eastside'sproduct line, including The Ninety One Gin, Navy Strength Gin (114 proof) and Delta Rye (111 proof) rye whiskey, among others.

Since its founding, Big Bottom Distilling has transitioned from an independent bottling operation to the distilling of their own award-winning spirits. Inspired by the craft spirits movement in Oregon, Big Bottom Distilling's small-batch, hand-crafted spirits provide consumers with unique takes on traditional spirits.

The spirits portfolio created by Ted Pappas and lead distiller Travis Schoney, formerly of High West Distilling of Park City, Utah, has won, and continues to win, awards for such specialty finished whiskeys as the Barlow Trail Port Cask Finished Whiskey.

BBD will continue their exclusive Warehouse Series – a boutique line of limited production spirits, like Hungarian oak finished rye, sold to collectors on a first come, first served, basis.

BBD craft spirits are primarily distributed in Oregon, California and Illinois. Eastsideintends to leverage its own distribution base and sales team, on a selective basis, in the U.S. and Canada.  

Eastside's production team, led by its EVP, Mel Heim, will jointly create and produce innovative and high quality spirits, such as spirits aged in Eastside's signature Oregon Oak barrels, as pioneered by Mel Heim and Lenny Gotter starting in 2010.

Eastside and BBD are collaborating on the expanding production of a super-premium American Single Malt Whiskey, made with malted Pacific Northwest barley, fermented and distilled entirely on premises (i.e., in bond) by Ted Pappas,Travis Schoney and, joined now, by Eastside's Mel Heim.

Grover Wickersham, Executive Chairman of Eastside Distilling, commented, "Ted Pappas, and lead distiller, Travis Schoney, are emotionally invested in creating the epitome of high quality craft spirits.

"Our goal is to help place tasting glasses into the hands of a multitude of Oregonian craft spirit fans, who we think appreciate super-premium craft spirits. BBD's offerings complement Eastside's, so there's an opportunity for great synergies and a lot of fun working together, which is one of the biggest parts of making craft spirits."

Ted Pappas, Founder of Big Bottom Distilling and past President of the Oregon Distillers Guild, commented, "This is the ideal opportunity we have been seeking for Big Bottom Distilling. This relationship with Eastside will allow us to grow at a faster rate and get our products distributed to a broader market. This will also give us the opportunity to focus on our single malt whiskey production and establish our position in this category. 

"We will continue on the path started in 2010 and retain the integrity, quality and identity that the company was founded on while integrating into the overall organization."

Melissa Heim, Executive VP of Operations and Master Distiller of Eastside Distilling, said, "Eastside is creating a great opportunity for craft businesses to maintain their entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the craft spirits movement while expanding their consumer base.

"I look forward to working with Ted, Travis and the rest of their team to continue producing high quality, unique spirits that I know consumers inside and outside Oregon will continue to love."

The transaction is structured as an exchange of 84,286 Eastside shares for BBD units, and will maintain the independence of BBD as a separate entity underneath the operational umbrella of Eastside Distilling.

BBD and Eastside will benefit from brand synergies because of the limited overlap with Eastside products.Eastside will devote sales, marketing, financial capital and production resources to expanding BBDs business, which in 2016 had total revenues of approximately$201,000.

Source: Company Press Release