Photographer: Susana Gonzlez/Bloomberg

As Mezcal Demand Surges, Pernod Ricard Acquires Mexico Brand

  • French distiller joins Diageo, Bacardi with mezcal move
  • Pernod Ricard adds faster-growing spirits after Domecq sale

Pernod Ricard SA agreed to acquire Del Maguey mezcal, making it the third major distiller to buy a producer of the Mexican spirit amid soaring demand.

Confirming an earlier Bloomberg story, Paris-based Pernod Ricard said Wednesday that it was buying a majority stake in the brand, which bottles high-end, small-batch mezcals from the state of Oaxaca.

Del Maguey, which was founded by California artist Ron Cooper in 1995, is one of the largest brands in the category, with sales of about $3 million in 2015, up from $386,000 in 2013, according to industry tracker IWSR. Most of its mezcals, made from agave grown in individual villages rather than blended, sell for $170 or more per bottle.

“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,” Cooper said in a statement.

Del Maguey’s current management team, including Cooper, will remain in place, Pernod Ricard said.

The purchase follows Bacardi Ltd.’s acquisition of a minority stake in Ilegal Mezcal in February and Diageo Plc’s distribution agreement with Mezcal Union signed in February 2016.

Pernod Ricard has recently divested brands such as the Domecq brandies that aren’t central to its business, paving the way to add faster-growing spirits to its arsenal including Smooth Ambler bourbon and Monkey 47 gin.

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