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Heaven Hill buys Carolans, Irish Mist from Campari for $165 million

Carolan’s is the second-largest selling Irish cream whiskey liqueur worldwide. The product is made in Ireland from fresh cream, honey and Irish whiskey.
Carolan’s is the second-largest selling Irish cream whiskey liqueur worldwide. The product is made in Ireland from fresh cream, honey and Irish whiskey. Photo provided

Heaven Hill, the privately owned spirits company headquartered in Bardstown, announced on Monday that it has purchased Carolans liqueur and Irish Mist liqueur and whiskey from Gruppo Campari.

“The historic brands are certainly complementary fits for a Heaven Hill portfolio built on quality and innovation,” said Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Brands, the parent of Evan Williams, Elijah Craig and many more brands. “We look forward to building on the success these brands have achieved, both in the U.S. and around the world.”

According to Campari, the publicly traded parent of Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, the price was $165 million. The sale includes Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist (Irish Mist Liqueur and Irish Mist Whiskey) trademarks, as well as inventory and production assets. Campari will continue to distribute the products outside the United States. The deal is expected to close Aug. 1.

Last year, the brands had total net sales of about $39.6 million, according to Campari.

“The sale of Carolans and Irish Mist is the largest disposal ever completed by the group,” said CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz in a statement. “With this transaction, we continue to streamline our non-strategic portfolio and further increase our focus on our priority spirit brands, particularly in our largest and core U.S. market. Moreover, thanks to this disposal, we can further accelerate in the reduction of our financial indebtedness. Since the beginning of 2016, we have divested non-strategic assets for a total value of approximately ($303 million.)”

The purchase gives Heaven Hill new assets in two growing markets.

The cream liqueur segment of the industry sells about 3 million cases a year and is about 20 percent of the total imported liqueur market in the United States. Carolan’s has grown more than 6 percent since 2010, outpacing much of the category, Heaven Hill said. Irish whiskey is up over 150 percent since 2010.

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