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Pernod Ricard to buy majority stake in Smooth Ambler Spirits

DBR Staff Writer Published 09 December 2016

Spirits and wine firm Pernod Ricard has agreed to acquire a majority stake in West Virginia distiller Smooth Ambler Spirits.

The purchase, to be made by Pernod Ricard North America subsidiary NBV Investments, is anticipated to be completed in early 2017.

Based in the Greenbrier Valley, the 2009-founded Smooth Ambler Spirits is the maker of high-end spirits that include the Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon and Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon.

Smooth Ambler Spirits intends to use the investment to expand its production capacities as well as its local distillery team in the region.

Pernod Ricard chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard said: “This investment illustrates perfectly our strategy of partnering with rising entrepreneurs sharing the same passion for authentic, high-quality brands.

“It represents a strong opportunity to enter the fast-growing, high-end bourbon market extending even more our fantastic portfolio of genuine brands in our number 1 market.”

The West Virginia distiller is said to use locally sourced natural resources and ingredients to make gins, rums, whiskeys and vodkas.

Smooth Ambler co-founder and head distiller John Little said: “Smooth Ambler is committed to making great spirits, using the best American ingredients.

“The investment from NBVI will enable us to introduce our premium craft spirits to many more consumers.”

Following the completion of the transaction, Little will become the CEO while continuing operations with the spirits company like before.

Earlier in the month, Pernod Ricard decided to divest Domecq brands to Emparador Group and Gonzalez Byass in a move to simplify its portfolio and concentrate on its core spirits and wines.


Image: High-end bourbons to be distributed by New York-based Pernod Ricard USA. Photo: courtesy of Pernod Ricard.