Heaven Hill Brands, Bardstown, Ky., has signed an agreement to acquire Black Velvet Canadian Whisky, the second-largest selling Canadian whisky in the world, from Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation Brands Inc. The purchase will be made through a subsidiary of Constellation, The Black Velvet Distilling Co. located in Lethbridge, Canada. The sale is expected to close in the second half of 2019, subject to regulatory approval.
Black Velvet, named for its velvety smooth taste, is the second-largest selling Canadian Whisky worldwide, the company says. The Black Velvet brand fills a gap in Heaven Hill’s broad distilled spirits portfolio by expanding sales activities in the imported whisky category and fits with its portfolio of high volume, quality brands like Evan Williams Bourbon, Burnett’s Vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka, Admiral Nelson’s Rums, and Christian Brothers Brandies, it adds.
“We are excited to add Black Velvet to our iconic group of brands and look forward to growing this historic brand in the months and years ahead,” said Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Brands, in a statement. “As we continue to build our business based on strategic acquisitions and innovation, Heaven Hill’s commitment to quality continues to steer the positive outlook for our diverse portfolio.”
In addition to acquiring Black Velvet, Heaven Hill will purchase the historic Black Velvet Distilling facility, one of the eight traditional Canadian distilleries in operation. The acquisition includes all the distilling operations, aging and bottling facilities and the remaining portfolio of Canadian Whisky brands owned by Constellation, which includes Black Velvet, MacNaughton, McMasters, and the international business of the Schenley brands: Golden Wedding and OFC.
Canadian Whisky made up 7.3 percent of total distilled spirits volume in 2018 according to Beverage Information Group, the largest segment of all total imported whiskey. The Canadian Whisky category is approximately 16.8 million cases, with Black Velvet volume representing almost 2 million cases in the United States in 2018, the company says.
Perella Weinberg Partners LP acted as exclusive financial advisor to Heaven Hill Brands with respect to the transaction.