During the past three years, New York-based Pernod Ricard USA has invested in and helped to grow a significant number of American-made spirits brands.
"We look for businesses that have perfected their craft and want a partner that can help them to accelerate," said Jeff Agdern, senior vice president of New Brand Ventures for Pernod Ricard USA, in a statement. "We seek out entrepreneurs who have had regional success and are ready to move to a national stage. We also favor brands with a strong sense of place."
The following are examples of Pernod Ricard USA’s investments the past few years:
- October 2019: Pernod Ricard USA finalizes its acquisition of Castle Brands Inc., the portfolio for which includes Jefferson's Bourbon from Louisville, Ky.
- August 2019: Pernod Ricard USA acquires Firestone & Robertson Distilling, owner of the TX whiskey brand based in Fort Worth, Texas.
- July 2019: Pernod Ricard USA partners with Rabbit Hole Distillery, known for its super-premium bourbon and distillery in Louisville, Ky.
- August 2018: Pernod Ricard USA opens Our/New York vodka distillery, the first distillery in Manhattan since Prohibition, known for using locally sourced ingredients, it says.
- December 2016: Pernod Ricard USA buys a majority stake in Smooth Ambler, the award-winning West Virginia whiskey distiller.
- July 2016: Pernod Ricard USA opens Our/Los Angeles vodka distillery, part of the global family of local micro-distilleries under The Absolut Co., it says.
- March 2016: Pernod Ricard USA unveils a new domestic vodka brand, Smithworks, made with corn from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and water from Arkansas.
These new spirits brands round out Pernod Ricard USA's current lineup of American-made wines — including Kenwood and Mumm Napa — and expand the company's production footprint beyond California and Arkansas, where Malibu, Seagram's and Smithworks are produced, among other brands. These facilities, plus the distilleries for the brands above, employ nearly 350 people — and that's not including employees for the three most recent acquisitions.
Pernod Ricard USA is actively working to improve the sustainability and responsibility of its U.S. footprint. Both California wineries are Certified Sustainable by the California Wine Growers Association, and Rabbit Hole is currently building a state-of-the-art rickhouse made entirely of steel — 80 percent of which is scrap metal — for future-proofing against disasters.
Pernod Ricard USA provides its growing portfolio of American brands with route to market and security in long-term development, all while remaining true to their authentic character, the company says.
"I like going into local stores, talking to owners and discovering brands I've never heard of,” Agdern said. “They could be the next big brand of tomorrow.”