US – Multinational alcoholic beverage company, Diageo plc, has acquired American Single Malt Whisky in the United States, Balcones Distilling (‘Balcones’), making the first full-scale acquisition of the company in the American single malt category.
This deal of an undisclosed amount was financed through the London-headquartered firm’s existing cash resources.
Founded in 2008 in Waco, Texas, Balcones provides a diverse portfolio of “super-premium and above” whiskies, including Texas ‘1’ American Single Malt, Lineage American Single Malt, and Baby Blue Corn Whisky.
Greg Allen, chairman of Balcones Distilling, commented that Balcones started with an idea driven by an innovative spirit and passion to create something original and authentic in the heart of Texas, growing to be an award-winning American Single Malt and Texas whiskies.
Diageo praised the distiller for embracing Texas’ intense heat as well as its temperature fluctuations to create whiskies with differentiated flavors.
The brewer also pointed out that the distiller leverages distinctive high quality, and often locally sourced, original ingredients, including Texas-grown malted barley and roasted blue corn, to produce a range of highly decorated whiskies.
Balcones Distilling sold more than 15,000 nine-liter cases (according to Nielsen data cited by Diageo) in 2021 and is available nationally in the US as well as in 11 international markets, including the UK.
According to the alcohol beverage giant, the premium whiskey business has experienced consistent growth in the U.S. in recent years, “with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3% from 2016 to 2021.”
The growth momentum, according to Diageo, was driven by American Single Malt Whisky with 18.2% CAGR over the same period.
Claudia Schubert, president of Diageo North America, said: “We are delighted to welcome Balcones Distilling into Diageo. The Balcones teams are true innovators and pioneers in the emerging American Single Malt and Texas whisk(e)y movements, and their super premium plus whiskies are highly complementary to our whisk(e)y portfolio.”
“This acquisition is in line with our strategy to acquire high-growth brands in fast-growing segments, such as super-premium whisk(e)y, and we look forward to working with the Balcones team to support further growth for these world-class whiskies.”
However, the acquisition of Waco’s Balcones has sparked mixed reactions among locals, with a few like Avalos saying it’s a little scary when a larger company comes in and takes over a small company and hopes the flavor profile and the innovations stay the way it is now.