Bacardi Acquires ILEGAL Mezcal – a Leading Artisanal Mezcal Brand in the U.S.
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held international spirits company in the world, announced today the completion of a transaction that makes the family-owned company the sole owner of ILEGAL Mezcal®, a leading super premium artisanal mezcal.
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Bacardi Acquires ILEGAL Mezcal, a Leading Artisanal Mezcal Brand in the U.S. (Photo: Business Wire)
The transaction follows a successful relationship in which Bacardi partnered with ILEGAL since 2015.
The super premium plus mezcal category is growing at a fast pace and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16% over the next five years according to IWSR. Between now and 2027, the agave category – which includes both mezcal and tequila – is expected to be the sixth largest category globally, and it recently overtook American Whiskey to become the second largest category (by value) in the U.S. At 86% of global market share, the United States dominates the super premium mezcal category. (Source: 2022 IWSR).
“We believe that ILEGAL has the credentials to own and lead the super premium mezcal category at a global level. ILEGAL perfectly complements our portfolio and bringing it into our business sets the brand up for even greater growth as mezcal captivates more and more consumers,” says Barry Kabalkin, Vice Chairman of Bacardi Limited.
“Bacardi and ILEGAL have a shared commitment to communities, quality, and environmental sustainability that we will build upon together as we look to invest for the long term. As a family-owned business for seven generations, we are always building for the future to maintain the legacy that is Bacardi,” says Mahesh Madhavan, Bacardi Limited Chief Executive Officer.
ILEGAL, recognized globally for its lifestyle branding, also prides itself on being a responsible and sustainable business. They work with fourth-generation maestros mezcaleros in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico. ILEGAL Mezcal is double distilled in small batches using 100% Espadin agave. ILEGAL Mezcal is 100% natural and uses no artificial colors, yeasts, flavors, or additives. It is certified as artisanal mezcal by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM).
John Rexer created ILEGAL in 2006, after years of working with small distillers in Oaxaca to make mezcal for his bar in Guatemala. John’s goal has been to bring the finest artisanal mezcal to a global market. He has worked closely with the distillers in Oaxaca to create sustainable jobs, and to be a positive force in protecting the environment and preserving local culture. John will continue to guide the vision of the brand.
“We are excited about the next stage of the journey,” says John Rexer. “Success for ILEGAL goes beyond seeing more of our bottles on shelves; it’s about building our business the right way. We will always be committed to artisanal production, the Oaxacan community, and our core values. Being a part of Bacardi will bring ILEGAL to a larger audience while maintaining our commitment to sustainability and growing the business responsibly.”
ILEGAL Mezcal is available in Joven, a full-bodied agave flavor with a light smoke; Reposado, aged six months in medium-charred American oak; and Añejo, aged to taste for 13 months using a combination of new and used American oak, medium char barrels.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held international spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi Limited brand portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels, including BACARDÍ® rum, GREY GOOSE® vodka, PATRÓN® tequila, DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, and other leading and emerging brands including WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Scotch whisky, ST-GERMAIN® elderflower liqueur, and ERISTOFF® vodka. Founded more than 161 years ago in Santiago de Cuba, family-owned Bacardi Limited currently employs approximately 9,000, operates production facilities in 10 countries, and sells its brands in more than 160 markets. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. Visit www.bacardilimited.com or follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram.
About ILEGAL Mezcal
ILEGAL Mezcal was founded in 2006 and is today one of the leading artisanal mezcals in the world. ILEGAL Mezcal is sold in over 40 countries and has won numerous awards for both quality and branding. The brand has won countless awards including a Gold Honor Shorty Award for Brand Identity and was named Agave Spirit of 2022 by Bloomberg. The company prides itself on bringing to market fine aged mezcals as well as its joven expressions. ILEGAL is produced and bottled in Oaxaca, Mexico. The production is 100% artisanal, using ripe espadin agave, pit ovens, tahona mills, and small copper stills. Visit www.ilegalmezcal.com or Instagram.
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