Premium Texas whiskey distillery Balcones has been acquired by spirits giant Diageo for an undisclosed sum.
This acquisition follows on the heels of the just announced purchase of Kenutcky-based Wilderness Trail by Campari. In the case of the Balcones acquisition, what is known is that the purchase was funded “through existing cash resources.”
Balcones, for those that don’t know of it, was founded in 2008 and is considered one of the earlier players in the American craft whiskey emergence. The brand today is known for its portfolio of award-winning super premium and above whiskies, including Texas “1” American Single Malt, Lineage American Single Malt and Baby Blue Corn Whisky. Balcones plays on the heat of Texas plus temperature fluctuations to create unique expressions and makes use of a diverse range of ingredients, sourced locally when possible, that include Texas-grown malted barley and roasted blue corn.
In an interesting sub-note in the joint statement from the two companies, American single malt whiskey was called out in particular. It was noted that “the super premium and above whisk(e)y segment has seen consistent volume growth in the US in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3% from 2016 to 2021. Within that, American Single Malt Whisky has been a driver of momentum, with 18.2% CAGR over the same period.”
Diageo already has a significant play in the American single malt whiskey category, which is due to be formally recognized by the TTB any day now, through its relationship with Westward Whiskey out of Oregon.
“Balcones started with an idea driven by an innovative spirit and passion to create something original and authentic in the heart of Texas,” said Greg Allen, Chairman, Balcones Distilling, in a prepared statement. “Now, we couldn’t be prouder to have created these award-winning American Single Malt and Texas whiskies, but also to have helped initiate an exciting new era of whisk(e)y in Texas.
“We are thrilled that Diageo shares our belief in its potential and we look forward to seeing Diageo bring Balcones’ incredible whiskies to more consumers.”
“We are delighted to welcome Balcones Distilling into Diageo,” added Claudia Schubert, President, Diageo North America. “The Balcones team are true innovators and pioneers in the emerging American Single Malt and Texas whisk(e)y movements, and their super premium plus whiskies are highly complementary to our whisk(e)y portfolio.
“This acquisition is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands in fast growing segments, such as super premium whisk(e)y, and we look forward to working with the Balcones team to support further growth for these world-class whiskies.”
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...