Constellation Brands takes minority stake in US rum distiller

Drinks giant Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in Colorado-based Montanya Distillers as part of its Focus on Female Founders campaign.

Founded in 2008 by Karen Hoskin and her husband Brice, Montanya Distillers produces a range of different craft rums including the Platino; a barrel-aged rum made from sugar cane that has been filtered to remove its colour; Oro, a rum that has been aged in ex-whiskey barrels for two to five years; and Exclusiva, a limited- edition rum that has been aged in both ex-whisky and ex-wine casks.

Constellation Brands made the investment through its Focus on Female Founders campaign, which it unveiled in December 2018. As part of the endeavour, Constellation pledged to invest at least US$100m in start-up beverage companies led by women by 2028.

Investments already made as part of the scheme include Austin Cocktails and Vivify Beverages.

Co-founder Hoskin, who is the company’s president and CEO, will continue to manage, produce, market and sell her company’s products, according to Constellation Brands.

In a statement on social media, the distillery commented: “Women have historically only received about 2% of corporate venture funding in the business world, so we’re grateful Constellation saw this gap and stepped up to invest in women-led companies.

“This investment goes straight into Montanya Distillers to help us reach our longtime goals of improving distribution, expanding production, and continuing our many social and environmental commitments.”

Montanya distributes its rums in over 40 states and 7 countries around the world, as well as selling its rums online.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It follows news announced in April that Constellation Brands had agreed to sell 30 of its lower priced wine brands and related facilities to E&J Gallo in a deal worth US$1.7 billion, as part of a strategy to streamline and premiumise its portfolio.

In May it was revealed that the deal had been delayed after both companies received a request for additional information and documentary material from the US Federal Trade Commission.

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