Ole Smoky Distillery - Ole Smoky and Tanteo Spirits Announce Merger

Can you mix moonshine and tequila? Well, you can if you are merging a moonshine company and a tequila company. Old Smoky Distillery with four locations in Tennessee has announced they have closed on a merger agreement with Tanteo Spirits, a premium tequila company. This transaction marks the moonshine and whiskey distillery’s entry into the fast-growing tequila market, as it moves to diversify its portfolio across other high-growth spirits categories.

Founded in 2007, Tanteo’s namesake brand is known as the original spicy tequila made with real-pepper infusions. Distilled in partnership with the cooperatively owned Distilladora Juanacatlan, in 2022, the company sold over 70,000 cases driven by consumer demand for versatile, ultra-premium tequila and its unique, high-quality infused products.

Tanteo Tequila - Celebrating Good Times
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Inspired by the spicy margarita, Tanteo manufactures four distinct infused tequilas – spicy Jalapeño, extra-spicy Habanero, smoky Chipotle, and seasonal Navidad, alongside its ultra-premium Blanco offering and the premium Espero brand.

Tanteo CEO Neil Grosscup and management will remain with the company, collaborating closely with the Ole Smoky team to further build on the brand’s success. Through this merger, the combined company will leverage Ole Smoky’s infrastructure and its sales and distribution network, which has distribution in all 50 states, to significantly accelerate Tanteo’s growth.

“Tanteo was created to perfect the spicy margarita through its artisanal infusion process, use of real peppers, and commitment to doing things the right way,” says Neil Grosscup, CEO of Tanteo. “We are thrilled to join the Ole Smoky team and look forward to taking the brand to new heights while maintaining the high standards that our loyal consumers expect.”

“Ole Smoky continues to be one of the fastest growing spirits brands in the country,” says Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky. “The addition of Tanteo to our portfolio further exemplifies the quality and reputation that we pride ourselves on, and we are excited to leverage our resources to introduce the Tanteo brand to even more consumers across the country.”

Ole Smoky Distillery - Welcomed Over 5.3 Million Visitors in 2022
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Ole Smoky Claims the title ‘Most Visited Distillery in the World’ by Welcoming 5.3 Million Visitors in 2022

Ole Smoky, which is a portfolio company of funds advised by Apax, is the largest craft distiller in the U.S. and home of the most visited distilleries in the world – welcoming over 5.3 million visitors last year alone. In addition to receiving that accolade, the brand experienced tremendous growth in 2022. According to Nielsen sales data from 2022, Ole Smoky brand dollar sales were up 53.3% vs. the prior year, significantly outpacing the American Whiskey category, which grew 1.9%. over the same period.

Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel for Ole Smoky. Deutsche Bank functioned as financial advisor, and Giannuzzi Lewendon LLP functioned as legal counsel for Tanteo Spirits. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky was the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Ole Smoky’s roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains’ earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine with enduring pride and Appalachian spirit. Ole Smoky has been recognized on the Inc. 5000 List of the fastest growing private companies in America for three consecutive years – 2020, 2021, and 2022. Today, Ole Smoky’s 25 moonshine flavors and 17 whiskey flavors can be found at the company’s four famed distilleries in Tennessee: The Holler and The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg, The Barn in Pigeon Forge, and 6th & Peabody in Nashville, all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world.

So yes, apparently moonshine and tequila do mix. Any one for a Moonshine Margarita?

Learn more about Ole Smoky Distilleries.
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