Pernod Ricard Acquires German Hipster Favorite Monkey 47 Gin

  • Acquisition reflects Pernod's hunt for more craft spirits
  • Deal terms not disclosed; founder Alexander Stein will remain

Pernod Ricard SA acquired a majority stake in Black Forest Distillers GmbH, the maker of Monkey 47 gin, adding the first upmarket gin to its spirit collection.

The price wasn’t disclosed and the deal is subject to regulatory approval, the Paris-based distiller said in a statement Friday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. Alexander Stein, the founding owner and chief executive officer of Lossburg, Germany-based Black Forest Distillers, will maintain his role.

Pernod, the owner of Jameson whiskey and Havana Club rum, wants to offer more high-end spirits that can compete in the same price segment as LVMH’s Belvedere vodka and Remy Cointreau’s The Botanist gin. It has introduced locally-themed upscale vodkas in Berlin, London and other trendy cities, as consumers become increasingly focused on heritage and quality. Monkey 47 will also complement Pernod’s mainstream gin brands, Beefeater and Seagram’s, whose sales have been sluggish in recent years.

“We are in this odd position where the big boys are clearly making moves in the craft area,” Eamonn Ferry, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said in a note to investors. “The acquisition is an interesting move which shows Pernod’s willingness to embrace the craft small brand trend.”

Monkey 47, a so-called Black Forest gin, is distilled with herbs, berries and water from Germany’s mountainous forest region of Baden-Wurttemberg and botanicals from Asia, according to its website. The brand should help meet the growing demand for craft gin with strong local roots, Pernod Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Ricard said in the statement.

Spirits priced at $50 or more are growing at about twice the pace of cheaper brands, according to industry data tracker IWSR. Pernod shares rose 1.9 percent to 105.6 euros at 3:09 p.m. in Paris.

“We want to not only develop the brand further in Germany but also to expand Monkey 47 globally in the future,” said David Haworth, managing director of Pernod Ricard Deutschland.

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