Diageo Acquires Aviation Gin

A popular craft gin brand with a celebrity spokesperson is changing hands.

Diageo announced today that it has reached agreement to acquire Aviation American Gin through the acquisition of Aviation Gin LLC and Davos Brands LLC. 

Produced in Portland, OR, Aviation is an American gin with a botanical mix that targets a smoother, easier drinking flavor than typical London Dry gins. Aviation shifts juniper into the background for citrus and floral notes upfront, the company says.

Aviation American Gin is perhaps best known for its co-owner, actor Ryan Reynolds, who will retain an ongoing ownership interest in the brand.

“A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit,” says Reynolds. “What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring. Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with. I want to thank Diageo for their incredible team and passion. We’re so excited for the next chapter of Aviation Gin, which, I promise, will require just as little reading.” 

Through this acquisition, Diageo is also acquiring the other brands in the Davos Brands portfolio, consisting of Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal and TYKU Sake. 

The total consideration is up to $610 million, which includes an initial payment of $335 million, and a further potential consideration of up to $275 million based on the performance of Aviation American Gin over a ten-year period. This reflects the brand’s current growth trajectory and expected upside potential, the company says.

“We are delighted to announce this transaction, which supports our participation in the super premium gin segment in the United States,” says Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo. “The acquisition of Aviation American Gin and the Davos Brands portfolio is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumisation. We are confident that Aviation American Gin will continue to shape and drive the growth of super premium gin in North America and we are looking forward to working with Ryan Reynolds and the Davos Brands team to accelerate future growth.” 

The acquisition will be funded through existing cash and is expected to close before the end of 2020, subject to regulatory clearances.
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Author: Kyle Swartz

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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