Foley Family Wines - Acquires Bently Heritage Distillery in Minden, Nevada

Bently Heritage Estate Distillery in Minden, Nevada opened in February 2019. Three years later in March of 2022 founder Christopher Bently announced the distillery would be closing and put up for sale. Just over a year later, Foley Family Wines (FFW) ), a Sonoma Valley-based family-owned wine company, has announced it has acquired the Bently Heritage Estate Distillery and its assets.

The acquisition includes not just one but two distilleries. One distillery focuses on making American whiskeys and white spirits, housed in a 100-year-old creamery, and an American Single Malt Whiskey distillery housed in a 100-year-old flour mill. Both buildings sit on the National Register of Historic Places.

The flour mill includes multiple tasting areas and will serve as a guest experience center. Also included in the transaction is the existing inventory of Bourbon, Single Malt Whiskey, and Rye.

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Foley Family Wines - Second Generation Vintner Courtney Foley
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Foley Family Wines 2nd Second Generation Vintner Courtney Foley.

“The Bently family, former owners of the distillery, restored these historic Minden sites to LEED Certification,” said FFW Second Generation Vintner Courtney Foley. “Their legacy is in perfect alignment with our family’s commitment to community and sustainability across our vineyards and winery properties.”

FFW will produce spirits at the facility from locally sourced grains; the spirits will be available through national wholesale markets and direct to consumer channels, including the Minden tasting room. FFW will begin operating the Minden facility immediately and will manage the sales and marketing efforts.

Foley Family Wines Expands Luxury Portfolio into Distilled Spirits

Foley Family Wines - President Shawn Schiffer
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Foley Family Wines President Shawn Schiffer.

“Foley Family Wines has been expanding our luxury portfolio of wines since 1996, and we are eager to launch a full range of high-end spirits,” said Shawn Schiffer, FFW President. “As the demand for spirits continues to grow and the consumer profile evolves, this is a strategic step for us. We look forward to integrating spirits brands into our national distribution network and to continuing the important vision of the Bently family.”

Minden is an historic agricultural and manufacturing town, located in the heart of Carson Valley close to the Nevada-California border at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Visitors enjoy easy access to South Lake Tahoe Mountain resorts, hiking trails, casinos, hot springs, legendary bars, and restaurants.

Foley Family Wines - Founder and Owner Bill Foley
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Foley Family Wines Founder and Owner Bill Foley.

Foley Family Wines Founder Bill Foley holds a growing portfolio of hospitality and entertainment businesses in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Nevada. Foley’s holdings in Nevada include the Vegas Golden Knights NHL franchise, the Henderson Silver Knights American Hockey League team, the Vegas Knight Hawks indoor football team, City National Arena, Lifeguard Arena, The Dollar Loan Center, and the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in Nevada,” Foley said, “and I’m looking forward to introducing our spirits to the marketplace.”

How Much Did Bently Heritage Estate Distillery Sell For?

In May of 2022 the Bently’s put up all of their property and business holdings in Nevada for sale. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Distillery Owners List Two Nevada Properties for Combined $155 Million… A waterfront compound on Lake Tahoe asks $55 million, while a roughly 12,500-acre cattle ranch just east lists for $100 million.”

Here is an amazing video to give you can idea of the scope of this massive offering.

Bently Ranch is on the market for the first time ever selling all of its agricultural holdings. Situated on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in Minden, Nevada, the property is located just 25 minutes from the popular Lake Tahoe area and just minutes from downtown Minden and Gardnerville. This incredible 12,393.29 deeded acre property is being sold as one unit, offering a once in a lifetime opportunity. The owners started to accumulate land in Nevada in 1997 and instituted a cattle program in 2012. Over the last several years, they have focused on sustainable farming, aiming to grow a variety of crops that are used in their distilling industry. The sister company, Bently Heritage Estate Distillery, exclusively uses these grains and botanicals to create some of the world’s finest spirits. What makes this possible are the senior water rights and the reservoirs used for irrigation. Water is abundant here on the Bently Ranch. There are about 6,046-acres irrigated with 34 pivots. Water on the property includes 3,746-acre-ft Mud Lake and 1,784-acre-ft East Valley Reservoir. Senior water rights are from the West and East fork of the Carson River. Currently being grown on the property are grains of wheat, rye, barley, hops, & oats as well as premium alfalfa. Improvements include 10 homes, 4 bunkhouses, 7 shops, 5 horse barns, 12 hay barns, 12 storage barns, a feedlot, and a compost facility.

Marc Levit of ML Advisory served as exclusive financial advisor and Sheppard Mullin acted as legal transaction advisor to Bently Heritage Estate Distillery. We reached out to the advisors but as is often the case with these transactions they did not disclose the sales price.

Levit did confirm that FFW only purchased the distillery and not the entire 12K acre property.

Who is Foley Family of Wines?

Foley Family Wines was established in 1996. The company owns more than two dozen wineries across the globe, each with its own distinct wine style, legacy, and approach to hospitality. FFW has expanded its portfolio significantly since its founding, with acquisitions that include Chalk Hill Estate Winery, Sebastiani, Roth, and Lancaster in Sonoma; Merus and Foley Johnson in Napa Valley; Lincourt, Firestone, and Foley Estates in Southern California; Four Graces in Oregon; and Three Rivers in Washington. In 2022, FFW announced the purchase of the iconic Silverado Vineyards in Napa Valley; in 2021, they acquired Sonoma Valley’s Chateau St. Jean; and in 2020 they purchased Ferrari-Carrano in Dry Creek Valley.

The portfolio also includes wineries in France, Argentina, and New Zealand. In addition, the Foley Food & Wine Society offers members a luxury lifestyle community that celebrates culinary experiences, entertainment, and travel in the United States, New Zealand, France, and Argentina.

Learn more about Bently Heritage Estate Distillery.
View all Nevada Distilleries.
View all U.S. Distilleries.

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