Startup Rabbit Hole Distilling Sells Majority Interest of its Super-Premium Bourbon Brand to Pernod Ricard
It was just back in October of 2017 that Rabbit Hole Distilling broke ground and poured out some bourbon to bless the dirt at their urban bourbon distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Then as recently as May of 2018 they celebrated their ribbon cutting and grand opening. They’ve been making bourbon and rye whiskey 24/7 ever since. Today, the distillery has announced they have reached a strategic agreement to sell a majority interest to Pernod Ricards investment branch New Brand Ventures. Other investments by the brand include Smooth Amber Spirits in West Virginia and Del Maguey mezcal.
The Bourbon category is currently undergoing a renaissance; new consumers are discovering its quality and versatility as Bourbon can be appreciated neat and has also recently earned its rightful place in modern mixology.
Pernod Ricard USA is proud to join forces with a passionate entrepreneur, Kaveh Zamanian. The founder of Rabbit Hole left his day job as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst to fully dedicate himself to the art of crafting whiskey in the very heart of Kentucky’s whiskey culture. As part of the strategic partnership with Pernod Ricard USA, Kaveh is keeping the majority of his shares in Rabbit Hole and will continue to operate the company.
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Rabbit Hole Distilling Founder Kaveh Zamanian said, “By leveraging Pernod Ricard USA’s extensive distribution network to reach new consumers, we are able to strengthen Rabbit Hole’s position as a brand and amplify its presence as a new voice in American Whiskey. In partnership with Pernod Ricard USA, Rabbit Hole is poised to reach new heights. I am very excited about this partnership and our future together.”
Rabbit Hole Distilling Chief Marketing Officer Michael Motamedi commented on the new relationship with Pernod Ricard. He explained, “They were drawn to our passion, our creativity, the innovation we bring to the spirits business, and the tremendous potential they see in us. With our new partners, we’ll expand distribution of Rabbit Hole and work together to reach our goal of connecting with spirits lovers throughout the world. Our dreams for the future of Rabbit Hole, our leadership and our products will remain the same. We’ll keep operating as we have from the start, as a family business. Kaveh will continue to operate Rabbit Hole and I’ll still be CMO.”
“The way we make whiskey, the creativity, passion and innovation we bring to the spirits business will continue to be the heart of our story, just as it is now.”
For Jeff Agdern, Senior Vice President of New Brand Ventures at Pernod Ricard USA, “Rabbit Hole has a great sense of place and a great founding team. They have a considerable amount of aging inventory that will come online over the next 18 months, and we are eager to help make it available to U.S. consumers as quickly and widely as possible. We are aiming to expand distribution from 18 to 50 markets by the end of 2020.”
Pernod Ricard USA is the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., and the largest subsidiary of Paris, France-based Pernod Ricard SA. The company’s leading spirits and wines include such prestigious brands as Absolut® Vodka, Chivas Regal® Scotch Whisky, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Malibu®, Kahlúa® Liqueur, Beefeater® Gin, Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin®, Martell® Cognac, Hiram Walker® Liqueurs, Pernod®, Ricard® and Avión™ Tequila; such superior wines as Jacob's Creek®, Kenwood® Vineyards and Brancott Estate®; and such exquisite champagnes and sparkling wines as Perrier-Jouët® Champagne, G.H. Mumm™ Champagne and Mumm Napa® sparkling wines.Pernod Ricard USA is based in New York, New York, and has roughly 650 employees across the country.
Once You Go Down the Rabbit Hole There’s No Going Back
Rabbit Hole Distilling makes Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in PX Sherry Casks and London Dry Gin Kentucky Rye Barrel Finish. Rabbit Hole turns the whiskey world on its tail, inviting imbibers to take a sip and dive down the rabbit hole, where “there’s no going back™.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the transaction is expected to close shortly.
Update July 19, 2019: Following the press release of June 14, 2019, Pernod Ricard, through Pernod Ricard USA’s New Brand Ventures division, announces the completion of the acquisition of a majority stake in super-premium Bourbon brand Rabbit Hole.
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