Diageo set to buy alcoholic beverage distributer Davos Brands for US$610m

USA – Drinks giant Diageo has agreed to acquire Aviation American Gin through the acquisition of Aviation Gin LLC and Davos Brands LLC in a deal worth up to US$610 million.

Davos Brands is a wholesaler and distributer of alcoholic beverages and is the majority shareholder of Aviation American Gin, which is also part-owned by Deadpool actor Reynolds.

The deal includes an initial payment of US$335m, with a potential second payment of US$275m dependant on performance over the next 10 years. As part of the deal, Diageo will also acquire other brands in Davos Brands’ portfolio, including Astral Tequila and Sombra Mezcal.

“The acquisition of Aviation American Gin and the Davos Brands portfolio is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumization,” Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said.

“We are confident that Aviation American Gin will continue to shape and drive the growth of super-premium gin in North America we are looking forward to working with Ryan Reynolds and the Davos Brands team to accelerate future growth.”

Ryan Reynolds invested in Aviation American Gin in February 2018. The brand first launched as part of a collaboration between bartender Ryan Magarian and House Spirits Distillery in 2006. Davos Brands bought Oregon-made Aviation American Gin in 2016.

In September 2018, Reynolds and billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson entered into a partnership to serve Aviation Gin on board Virgin Atlantic flights.

Reynolds has helped to create several humorous adverts for the brand over the last couple of years, including one starring actor Hugh Jackman who playfully mocked Aviation Gin, and another in which Reynolds trolls fellow superhero actor Henry Cavill’s moustache in Justice League.

“A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring,” Reynolds said.

“Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with. We’re so excited for the next chapter of Aviation Gin, which, I promise, will require just as little reading.”

Aviation American Gin is the second largest and one of the fastest-growing brands in the super-premium gin category in the US.

In 2019, volumes of Aviation American Gin grew by more than 100%. This represented 40% of growth in the super-premium gin segment, according to IWSR 2019 data.

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