BARDSTOWN, Ky.—The Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo), the largest new whiskey distillery in the United States, announced today that Constellation Brands acquired a minority stake in the new company. This strategic opportunity provides BBCo with a strong platform to develop new brands and create a long-term supply of authentic, Kentucky whiskey, bourbon, and rye.
This is a very big deal as it acknowledges not only BBCo’s capabilities, but Constellation’s willingness to bet on a brand new company with no products on the shelf. (Click here to read a story on BBCo written by our own Rick Redding, as well as a podcast interview with BBCo master distiller Steve Nally.)
According to a news release, BBCo recently developed a unique space in the American whiskey market with a first-of-its-kind Collaborative Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye Distilling Program, which promises to expand the explosive growth of the craft distilling industry. Led by Bourbon Hall of Fame Master Distiller, Steve Nally, a 40-year veteran of the spirits industry and the former master distiller of Maker’s Mark, BBCo offers one of the most experienced whiskey-distilling production teams in the industry, with an average of 15+ years of experience working on world-class whiskey brands.
“This is an exciting and unique investment for Constellation, and different than the venture activity we’ve explored to date,” said Ben Dollard, senior vice president and chief growth officer, Constellation Brands. “Investing in a state-of-the-art bourbon facility at Bardstown provides us access to knowledge and production capability to support our emerging premium spirits portfolio over time. At the same time, Bardstown will grow with our investment as well as our experience in the beverage alcohol space, our relationships within the industry and our people.”
BBCo began commercial production in September 2016 and recently announced that it was already preparing to expand its current 1.5 million proof gallon capacity based on the success of the Collaborative Distilling Program. Over time, capacity will be expanded to 6 million proof gallons within the current design. Set on 100 acres of active farmland and adjacent to the Bluegrass Parkway, BBCo’s Napa Valley style destination experience, features a unique and transparent educational experience, high-end tours and tastings, integrated visitors center and event space.
“We are very encouraged to have Constellation as a strategic partner,” said David Mandell, president and CEO of BBCo. “Constellation’s investment and support will further help The Bardstown Bourbon Company reshape the American whiskey market.”
Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation Brands is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Italy. It is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, ModeloNegra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S. In addition, Constellation is the world’s leader in premium wines including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and Jackson-Triggs. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka and Casa Noble Tequila.