Drake, the Canadian rapper and friend of the Big Blue Nation, is launching a $30 million initial public offering for his whiskey. Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey, which launched in 2016, is described as an aged bourbon whiskey with a high rye content.
Despite Drake’s obvious fondness for Kentucky basketball, his bourbon isn’t from the Bluegrass.
Instead, it’s from Hoosier country. Virginia Black is made by MGP of Lawrenceburg, Ind., a well-respected contract distillery that not-so-secretly provides the liquid sold under many “craft” labels.
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Described as “a personally selected collection of two-, three- and four-year-old bourbons finished with a decadent profile,” Virginia Black is a collaboration between Drake and Brent Hocking, who created $1,000-a-bottle DeLeón Tequila, which he sold to Diageo and Sean “Diddy” Combs for an undisclosed price.
The high-profile sale paved the way for more celebrity booze buys, including Diageo’s $1 billion purchase of George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila.
Now Hocking and Drake hope to have another hit, with the IPO of shares in Virginia Black. According to the announcement, the brand is targeted at both the growing American whiskey market and the surging cognac market.
TriPoint Global Equities, which is selling the shares, seeks to raise as much as $30 million, which Virginia Black will use for expansion, sales and marketing. Shares are expected to go on sale at the end of the first quarter. For more information, go to Banq.co/listings/vb.
Is it any good? Well, reviews have been mixed. It’s 80 proof unflavored whiskey, sells for about $40 and comes in a fancy bottle. According to the IPO documents, Virginia Black sold more than 30,000 nine-liter cases in its first year and has the capacity to produce 350,000 nine-liter cases annually, so clearly Hocking and Drake expect big things. Hocking told Business Insider that Virginia Black is on track to double sales the second year.
It’s already a hit on Instagram, with almost 71,000 followers. And the brand has drawn attention for its funny ads starring Drake and his father, Dennis Graham.
As Drake’s father says in the ads, “One sip and ... whooooo!”