Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held international spirits company in the world, announced today the completion of a transaction that makes the family-owned company the sole owner of Ilegal Mezcal.
The transaction follows a successful relationship in which Bacardi has partnered with Ilegal since 2015.
“We believe that Ilegal has the credentials to own and lead the super-premium mezcal category at a global level,” says Barry Kabalkin, Vice Chairman of Bacardi Limited. “Ilegal perfectly complements our portfolio and bringing it into our business sets the brand up for even greater growth as mezcal captivates more and more consumers.”
Ilegal works with fourth-generation mezcaleros in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico, the company says. The product is double distilled using 100% Espadin agave. Ilegal Mezcal is 100% natural and uses no artificial colors, yeasts, flavors or additives. It is certified as artisanal mezcal by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM).
John Rexer created Ilegal in 2006, after years of working with small distillers in Oaxaca to make mezcal for his bar in Guatemala. Rexer will continue to guide the vision of the brand.
“We are excited about the next stage of the journey,” says Rexer. “Success for Ilegal goes beyond seeing more of our bottles on shelves; it’s about building our business the right way. We will always be committed to artisanal production, the Oaxacan community, and our core values. Being a part of Bacardi will bring Ilegal to a larger audience while maintaining our commitment to sustainability and growing the business responsibly.”
Ilegal Mezcal is available in Joven; Reposado, aged six months in medium-charred American oak; and Añejo, aged to taste for 13 months using a combination of new and used American oak, medium char barrels.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.