Pernod Ricard acquires majority stake in Rabbit Hole Whiskey

Drinks giant Pernod Ricard has taken a majority stake in Kentucky-based Rabbit Hole Distillery as it strengthens its foothold in the Bourbon category.

As part of the arrangement, founder of Rabbit Hole Kaveh Zamanian, a former psychologist and psychoanalyst, will retain the majority of his shares in the business and will continue to run the company.

Rabbit Hole will become part of Pernod Ricard USA’s New Brand Ventures division along with recently acquired brands such as Smooth Ambler Bourbon and Del Maguey Tequila.

Founded in 2012, the whiskey brand boasts a range of straight Bourbon and rye whiskeys distilled in copper Vendome column stills at its distillery in Louisville. It produces 1.2 million gallons of spirit annually.

Its new state-of-the-art distillery opened in May 2018 and is a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Pernod Ricard acquired Smooth Ambler in 2017, eight years after quitting the Bourbon scene with the sale of Wild Turkey to Campari in 2009. Its New Brand Ventures division also includes German gin brand Monkey 47, which it acquired in 2016, Plymouth Gin, Powers, Lillet and Aberlour as well as Smooth Ambler and Del Maguey.

Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, commented: “This partnership is the perfect implementation of our long-term investment strategy to create sustainable value. Kaveh and I embrace the same entrepreneurial spirit. Rabbit Hole is a fast-growing brand, strongly rooted in its terroir and very well positioned in the high-end Bourbon and Kentucky whiskey categories. We are excited to take the brand to the next stage of its very promising development.”

Kaveh Zamanian, founder of Rabbit Hole, added: “Pernod Ricard and I share the same entrepreneurial values and our ethos and strategic visions are fully aligned. By leveraging Pernod Ricard’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, Rabbit Hole is poised to reach new heights. I am very excited about this partnership and our future together.”

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