Campari buys Bulldog gin for £46.8 million

Gruppo Campari has bought London Dry Gin brand Bulldog for £46.8m to strengthen its premium position in the on-trade.

The group has distributed Bulldog gin since 2014 as part of exclusive agreement in which Campari would have the option to buy the brand in 2020. Following a renegotiation of the deal terms, Gruppo Campari bought Bulldog three years earlier than planned.

Campari said in a statement that the sale allows it to “fully exploit the brand’s growth potential” and “take full control of the marketing strategy and brand building initiatives”.

The sale is expected to be complete by the middle of this month. Bulldog was launched in America in 2007 by entrepreneur and ex-investment banker Anshuman Vohra.

Bulldog founder Anshuman Vohra

It quickly built a name for its distinctive black studded bottle and quirky botanicals like dragon eye, lotus leaf and poppy.

Based on a blend of 12 botanicals from eight countries, the gin is quadruple distilled in traditional copper pot stills in England. The citrus base gives Bulldog a distinct floral freshness that belies its packaging.

The brand is currently on sale in 95 countries, with particularly strong sales in the UK, the US, Spain and Benelux. Bulldog achieved net sales of around €11 million in 2016, up 22% on 2015, shifting 150,000 9-litre cases sold globally.

Bob Kunze-Concewitz, Grupo Campari’s chief executive officer, said: “This deal is an opportunity to consolidate our presence as a key player in the attractive super-premium gin category via a super-premium brand with significant growth potential.

“From a distribution stand point thanks to Bulldog we will further increase our on-premise focus, particularly in the US, where the group is currently strengthening its on-trade capabilities.

By acquiring a fast growing, profitable brand, this deal is a perfect fit with Campari’s acquisition criteria in terms of type of brands and distribution fit.”

“Bulldog has always been a labour of love for me and I’m quite pleased to hand over control to a venerable institution such as Gruppo Campari.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with their very professional organisation for the last few years and am confident the brand will continue to excel in its new home,” added Vohra, who will stay on in the role of brand ambassador for Bulldog.

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