Eastside Distilling in Portland, Oregon, a publicly traded company that positions itself as, “The only small public company in craft spirits, we are a pure play and acquisition platform,” has announced its second acquisition in last 90 days. In March Eastside announced the acquisition of MotherLode Craft Distillery, a Portland based provider of bottling services and production support to craft distilleries. With that acquisition, Eastside relocated much of its own operations to MotherLode’s facility to jointly expand both companies manufacturing resources.
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This week, Eastside Distilling, founded in 2008, has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Big Bottom Distilling (BBD), a Hillsboro, Oregon-based distiller of award winning and super premium gins, whiskeys, brandies, rum, and vodka. BBD was founded in 2010 by Ted Pappas, a past president of the Oregon Distillers Guild. BBD will continue to operate as a distinct business entity and produce spirits in collaboration with Eastside’s Master Distiller and EVP of Operations, Melissa “Mel” Heim.
The transaction is structured as an exchange of 84,286 Eastside shares for BBD LLC units, and will maintain the independence of BBD as a separate entity underneath the operational umbrella of Eastside Distilling. BBD and Eastside will benefit from brand synergies because of the limited overlap with Eastside products. Eastside will devote sales, marketing, financial capital and production resources to expanding BBDs business, which in 2016 had total revenues of approximately $201,000.
Eastside intends to place BBD’s craft spirits into joint distribution, on a selective basis, with Portland Potato Vodka, Burnside Bourbon, Cherry Bomb, Coffee Rum, Marionberry Whiskey and its other popular craft spirits. The extensive BBD product portfolio includes several craft spirits that are highly complementary to Eastside’s product line.
Since its founding, Big Bottom Distilling has transitioned from an independent bottling operation to the distilling of their own award-winning spirits. Inspired by the craft spirits movement in Oregon, Big Bottom Distilling’s small-batch, hand-crafted spirits provide consumers with unique takes on traditional spirits. The spirits portfolio created by Ted Pappas and lead distiller Travis Schoney has won, and continues to win, awards for such specialty finished whiskeys as the Barlow Trail Port Cask Finished Whiskey. BBD will continue their exclusive Warehouse Series – a boutique line of limited production spirits, like Hungarian oak finished rye, sold to collectors on a first come, first served, basis.
BBD craft spirits are primarily distributed in Oregon, California and Illinois. Eastside intends to leverage its own distribution base and sales team, on a selective basis, in the U.S. and Canada. Eastside’s production team, led by its EVP, Mel Heim, will jointly create and produce innovative and high quality spirits, such as spirits aged in Eastside’s signature Oregon Oak barrels, as pioneered by Mel Heim and Lenny Gotter starting in 2010.
Eastside and BBD are collaborating on the expanding production of a super-premium American Single Malt Whiskey, made with malted Pacific Northwest barley, fermented and distilled entirely on premises by Ted, Travis and now Eastside’s Mel Heim.
Grover Wickersham, Executive Chairman of Eastside Distilling, commented, “Ted Pappas, and lead distiller, Travis Schoney, are emotionally invested in creating the epitome of high quality craft spirits. Our goal is to help place tasting glasses into the hands of a multitude of Oregonian craft spirit fans, who we think appreciate super-premium craft spirits. BBD’s offerings complement Eastside’s, so there’s an opportunity for great synergies and a lot of fun working together, which is one of the biggest parts of making craft spirits.”
Ted Pappas, Founder of Big Bottom Distilling commented, “This is the ideal opportunity we have been seeking for Big Bottom Distilling. This relationship with Eastside will allow us to grow at a faster rate and get our products distributed to a broader market. This will also give us the opportunity to focus on our single malt whiskey production and establish our position in this category. We will continue on the path started in 2010 and retain the integrity, quality and identity that the company was founded on while integrating into the overall organization.”
Melissa Heim, Executive VP of Operations and Master Distiller of Eastside Distilling, said, “Eastside is creating a great opportunity for craft businesses to maintain their entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the craft spirits movement while expanding their consumer base. I look forward to working with Ted, Travis and the rest of their team to continue producing high quality, unique spirits that I know consumers inside and outside Oregon will continue to love.”