Louisville-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. announced the sale of a minority equity stake to Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation Brands, a leading international producer of beer, wine and spirits.

“In all honesty there could not be a better fit between a small craft distiller and a leader in the beverage alcohol industry like Constellation Brands,” Copper & Kings Founder and Chief Executive Officer Joe Heron said in a statement. “There are not only significant synergies in supply chain, but also a shared culture of entrepreneurship, and most importantly an overlapping culture of innovation and social responsibility. There’s great personal chemistry, excellent complementary product portfolios. And a mutual love of rock & roll.

“We are operating in an increasingly dynamic and changing business environment; distributor consolidation, retailers are embracing smaller, innovative craft spirits and consumers are becoming more adventurous and discerning drinkers,” he continued. “We’ve done a lot of hard yards to get to where we are, and we are proud of that, but we now feel the need for some assistance with the heavy lifting required to build a legacy market leader brand and investigate global expansion.

“We are going to need additional gas in the tank to keep up with the growth we are now encountering as a brand, and for the brandy category in general. Brown spirits have a very long-term planning horizon; 10 years or more out. Constellation’s investment will help us move forward with appropriate capital. We are also incredibly excited to be part of a family of brands that includes High West, Casa Noble, Robert Mondavi, Meiomi, The Prisoner, Kung Fu Girl, Kim Crawford, Corona, Modelo, Ballast Point — well, I could go on and on. … We feel immense pride to be even mentioned within that pantheon,” Heron said.  

Constellation Brands’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Newlands added: “Copper & Kings has a fiercely independent streak. Their entrepreneurship and focus on premium high-end craft spirits aligns closely with our strategy of delivering what the consumer wants. Copper & Kings is scalable not only in equity, but also the inventory of aged and aging spirits on hand. We see our role as adding fuel to their fire. And we think it’s going to burn very bright.”