French distilling giant Pernod Ricard announced this week that its American arm has signed an agreement to take majority stake of leading mezcal brand Del Maguey at an undisclosed amount, ending much speculation surrounding the deal that rose since September last year.
Created in 1995 by "artist and entrepreneur" Ron Cooper, the Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal range comprises of the nine spirits that are made from agave plants grown around a particular village in the Oaxaca region of Mexico - hence its "single village" label.
Del Maguey's range of super-premium, hand-crafted mezcals from Oaxaca are made using traditional Zapotec processes. Founder Ron Cooper adds, "We partnered with Pernod Ricard because they understand and appreciate our mission of preserving the culture of the Zapotec people and protecting the traditional process of making mezcal."
Despite the Pernod Ricard's move at taking majority stake, the management team of the Del Maguey brand - including Cooper, Michael Gardner and Steve Olsen - as well as its other teams and operations will all remain in place. Crucially, the brand now joins into the highly established Pernod Ricard brands portfolio alongside the likes of other notable brands such as Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal, Ballantine's, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Jacob's Creek wines, Martell cognac, Beefeater gin and G.H. Mumm champagne amongst others.
The Del Maguey Single Village mezcal brand currently sits as the category leader in the US where the market volume for both mezcal and tequila reportedly grew by 30% last year. Globally, mezcal sales rose to US$80 million in 2015 according to International Wine & Spirits Research.