The merging will result in a joint venture to be operated as a division of Terlato Wines, with an important base of business in the U.S. spirits industry.
“The Distell Group brings a portfolio of world-class spirits brands that complements our own Terlato Artisan Spirits portfolio,” said William A. Terlato, CEO of Terlato Wines, in a press release. “In addition to maximizing distribution and sales of our combined portfolio, we’ll also be looking for strategic acquisitions.”
In 2013, Terlato Wines launched its luxury spirits portfolio, Terlato Artisan Spirits, alongside its luxury wine business. Terlato has represented Nonino amaro and grappas since 1996. Other Terlato Artisan Spirits key brands include Langley’s No. 8 Gin, Don Pancho Origenes Rum, Riazul Tequila and Tiramisu Liqueur.
Distell, owner of Amarula Cream Liqueur and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, has been on a growth and acquisition path for several years. The company acquired Bisquit Cognac in 2009, and in 2013 purchased Burn Steward Distillers, known for its family of Scotch whiskies (single malts Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Deanston, Ledaig and Black Bottle, a blended product.)
“This joint venture is a great match,” said Steven Nathan, managing director of Distell International. “As we thought about how best to penetrate the U.S. market, we liked the idea of partnering with Terlato. Their strong relationship with distributors and trade and their successful marketing and route-to-market strategies offer a solid foundation for our business. We are proud to unite our two portfolios in this joint venture.”
The new business, which is equally owned by Terlato and Distell, will be led by Bill Terlato as CEO. A COO will be named later, and will manage operations, sales and marketing.
The group will be based in the Chicago area, and will report to its own board of directors. It is expected to be fully operational with a sales force of more than 20 and a full marketing team within the first quarter of 2016.