Investment firm buys Bardstown Bourbon Co

Pritzker Private Capital has acquired Bardstown Bourbon Company for an undisclosed sum, including Constellation Brands’ minority stake in the Kentucky distiller.

The private equity firm said it had invested in the company alongside members of the Bardstown Bourbon management team and current backers.

The Bardstown-based company was founded by Peter Loftin in 2014. The firm’s president and CEO, Mark Erwin, as well as the company’s current management team, will continue to lead the business.

Bardstown Bourbon Co opened its multi-million-dollar distillery in 2016, which produces and bottles premium Kentucky Bourbon and rye whiskey.

That same year, Constellation Brands acquired a minority stake in Bardstown Bourbon Company, which has now been sold as part of Pritzker’s acquisition.

Since then, the company’s production capacity has quadrupled, with the site distilling more than 50 unique mash bills for 30-plus premium spirits brands.

Bardstown Bourbon Co distils more than seven million gallons every year, making it one of the top 10 US whiskey distillers by volume and the largest custom distiller in the States, according to Pritzker Private Capital (PPC).

‘Poised for growth’

The equity firm said the deal would help accelerate Bardstown Bourbon Co’s growth by increasing production capacity and enhancing the firm’s market presence in the premium spirits sector.

“Bardstown Bourbon has quickly established itself as a distilling leader for premium Bourbon brands,” said Chris Trick, investment partner at PPC.

“This partnership is an excellent fit with our experience and focus on investing in innovative food and beverage producers that combine state-of-the-art production capabilities and strong partnerships with leading brands.

“With its innovative co-manufacturing strategy and experiential approach at its Bourbon Trail location, Bardstown Bourbon is poised for growth and expansion in the attractive premium spirits category. We are pleased to partner with Bardstown Bourbon’s talented leadership team to support the company’s exciting next chapter.”

In 2019, the distiller launched its first own-label line of Kentucky straight Bourbons and blended whiskeys, which are now available in 20 markets globally. The site is also located on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and welcomes more than 75,000 guests annually.

“Bardstown Bourbon is redefining the Bourbon industry,” said Erwin.

“Our devotion to quality, custom distillation and innovations in blending, combined with a unique, modern Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience, have built a leading position in this high-growth category.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pritzker Private Capital to grow this company’s distilling, bottling and brand capacity to its greatest potential.

“The PPC team shares our commitment to a culture focused on innovation and teamwork. Together we will build on the legacy of our founder Peter Loftin and take this great company to the next level.”

In May 2020, the Kentucky distiller started construction on a new bottling facility to bring its production process in-house.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers