When George Clooney’s tequila brand, Casamigos, sold last June for a record $1 billion, it woke some spirits connoisseurs to the power and popularity of agave spirits. But today’s announcement from Bacardi ups that ante with its $5.1 billion acquisition of premium tequila brand Patrón.
The brand got its start nearly 20 years ago in 1989 when entrepreneurs Martin Crawley and John Paul DeJoria (of Paul Mitchell fame) launched Patrón as the first tequila in the super-premium category. The 16 products in its portfolio include silver, reposado, añejo, and—most recently—extra-añejo, tequilas, as well as Ultimat vodka and Pyrat rum. The company produces three million cases of distilled spirits annually.
Elevated to cult status by hip-hop stars as well as tequila aficionados, Patrón is made with the industry gold standard of 100 percent Weber blue agave, and has continued to improve its offerings by partnering with celebrities such as Guillermo del Toro and other esteemed brands like Lalique.
“We started this business more than a quarter century ago with a singular mission – to create an ultra-premium, luxury tequila,” says DeJoria. In 2008, Bacardi, which also owns Grey Goose vodka and Dewar’s scotch, became a minority shareholder in the company, prefacing today’s sale.
“Adding Patrón to the Bacardi portfolio creates tremendous opportunity for the brand outside of the United States as Bacardi’s international distribution network will help grow Patron around the world,” says Mahesh Madhavan, CEO of Bacardi Limited. Currently Patron can be found in 100 countries around the world.
Patron’s CEO, Edward Brown, as well as its chief operating and marketing officers will continue in their roles, according to a statement released by Patron, and DeJoria will serve as an ambassador for the brand as chairman emeritus.
The sale, expected to close in the first half of 2018, will make Bacardi the top spirits player in the ultra-premium category in the U.S., and the second largest spirits brand in market share by value in the U.S. Tequila is considered one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry. And the growth of the super-premium segment, which already has substantial traction, is expected to continue.