Diageo steps up mezcal ambitions with Mexico’s Pierde AlmasBy Lauren Eads
Diageo has acquired the artisan Mexican mezcal brand Pierde Almas – the first stand-alone mezcal brand in its portfolio – as part of its strategy to develop the category in Mexico and abroad.
The drinks giant said it planned to preserve the traditional production methods of Almas, which is distilled in Oaxaca and Guerrero, and retain its founder, Jonathan Barbieri, as brand ambassador and master distiller.
“We are confident that this acquisition will have a positive impact on the brand and the category as a whole,” said Barbieri.
“It represents not only a growth opportunity for Pierde Almas, but a chance for us to unleash the full potential of our social, cultural and environmental commitment. In these three areas, Pierde Almas has always been pro-active, but now many ideas that seemed unattainable before are suddenly within reach.”
The purchase highlights growing interest in the mezcal category, with several big players investing in the burgeoning category in recent years.
Last year, George Clooney extended his Casamigos Tequila range with a mezcal, following the sale of their brand to Diageo for $700 million, with the potential to earn a further $300 million from the deal based on the brand’s sales performance over the next decade.
That acquisition and extension makes Pierde Alamas the second mezcal brand to join Diageo’s portfolio, but the first solely dedicated to the production of the spirit.
Elsewhere, Pernod Ricard finalised its majority stake acquisition of the ‘Del Maguey Single Village’ mezcal in August of last year.
“We are excited about this acquisition and the opportunity it brings to support the sustainable growth of mezcal and the communities in Oaxaca where it is produced”, said the CEO of Diageo Mexico, Erik Seiersen.
“In the last five years, consumer appreciation of mezcal has been growing rapidly in Mexico and abroad and we believe the category will continue to develop.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.