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E&J Gallo acquires owner of Rumchata liqueur

The spirits division of California-based E&J Gallo has acquired Agave Loco, the owner of brands including cream liqueur label Rumchata, for an undisclosed sum. 

E&J Gallo’s acquisition of Agave Loco includes the Rumchata brand, together with Midwest Custom Bottling (MCB), the Wisconsin-based facility at which it produces the liqueur brand.

Also part of the deal are MCB-owned cream rum liqueur brand Tipsy Cow and eggnog label Holly Nog.

Launched in 2009, Rumchata is made from a blend of dairy cream rum and a sweet spice mix, and is inspired by the milk drink horchata, which is popular in Mexico.

Founder and master blender, Tom Maas, said: “First of all, I want to thank the distributors and retailers, as well as our employees, who supported Rumchata since its inception. Your backing of the brand meant the world to us and will not be forgotten. As a small independent producer, we never imagined the success of Rumchata when we were just getting started back in 2009.

“We have taken the growth of the brand as far as possible as a small supplier, and it was the right time to find a new brand steward. I know the Rumchata brand will thrive under Gallo’s guidance, and I am excited to watch the brand continue to grow and evolve in the future.”

In 2016, Maas introduced Rumchata minichatas, which are 25ml servings that can be added to coffee. In the following year he launched a new brand extension called Rumchata Cold Brew, and most recently added Rumchata Limón to the brand’s core range.

The liqueur label also produces a number of seasonal variants including Rumchata Peppermint Bark for Christmas.

Commenting on the deal, vice president and general manager of E&J Gallo’s spirits division, Britt West, said: “We see tremendous potential with this acquisition to further innovate in the premium spirits space with unique consumer propositions, while continuing to add value to our wholesaler and customer partners. Opportunities like this are rare in the spirits industry and we are excited to add Rumchata to our expanding portfolio of noteworthy brands. We look forward to continuing to build brand awareness for Rumchata, while expanding its availability both in the US and internationally.”

The deal is expected to complete on 16 April.

While primarily known for its wine business, E&J Gallo’s spirits portfolio includes New Amsterdam Vodka and Gin, Germain-Robin Brandy, High Noon Sun Sips Hard Seltzer, Camarena Tequila.

Earlier this year, E&J Gallo finally completed its US$810 million deal with Constellation Brands, which saw it offload over 30 wine brands priced at US$11 and below per bottle. It also sold off two of its fortified wine brands – Sheffield Cellars and Fairbanks – to Seattle-based Precept Wine.

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