Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately-owned international spirits company, announced it acquired ILEGAL Mezcal, a renowned super-premium artisanal mezcal brand.

While terms of the transaction were not disclosed, prior reports from Bloomberg News indicated that the acquisition was less than $200m – possibly in the $120-$130m range. Private equity firm L Catterton was also interested in acquiring the company.

Bacardi has been partnered with ILEGAL since 2015 and owned about 20% of the company prior to today’s deal.

The super-premium plus mezcal segment is experiencing rapid expansion, projected to achieve a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16% in the upcoming five years, as reported by IWSR. In the period leading up to 2027, the agave category, encompassing both mezcal and tequila, is poised to ascend to the sixth position among global categories, having recently surpassed American Whiskey in value to secure the second-largest rank in the United States. With an impressive 86% share of the global market, the United States stands as the predominant force in the super-premium mezcal category, as per data from the 2022 IWSR.

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“We believe that ILEGAL has the credentials to own and lead the super-premium mezcal category at a global level. ILEGAL perfectly complements our portfolio and bringing it into our business sets the brand up for even greater growth as mezcal captivates more and more consumers,” said Barry Kabalkin, Vice Chairman of Bacardi Limited.

Founded in 2006 by John Rexer, ILEGAL emerged from his extensive collaboration with small distillers in Oaxaca, initially to supply mezcal for his Guatemalan bar. His mission has always centered on introducing the finest artisanal mezcal to the global market, all while fostering sustainability, job creation, environmental protection, and the preservation of local culture through close partnerships with Oaxacan distillers. John Rexer remains at the helm of the brand, expressing excitement about the brand’s future and commitment to responsible growth within the Bacardi family. ILEGAL Mezcal offers three distinct expressions: Joven, featuring full-bodied agave flavor with a light smoke; Reposado, aged six months in medium-charred American oak; and Añejo, matured for 13 months in a blend of new and used American oak, medium char barrels, all reflecting their dedication to craftsmanship and tradition.

Source: UK Investing

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