MEXIC0 – British multinational alcoholic beverages company Diageo is set to expand its presence in artisanal spirits markets with the acquisition of agave spirits maker Casa UM for an undisclosed sum. 

According to a statement from the drinks giant, the acquisition will Casa UM will give it ownership of artisan brand Mezcal Unión  which is popular in Mexico.  

As part of the deal, Mezcal Unión’s founders will continue to be involved in the business to support the brand’s future success and growth. 

Diageo has worked in partnership with Mezcal Unión since 2016, providing expertise and supporting growth of the brand’s distribution network in Mexico, the US and other export markets. 

Over the last five years, Mezcal Unión has integrated numerous mezcal producers and agave farmers into its sustainability and community support programmes, focused on contributing to local development in Oaxaca. 

The brands new owners have promised to preserve Mezcal Unión’s mission of supporting traditional and artisanal methods while continuing existing relationships with its network of agave farmers and distillers in Mexico. 

Mónica Michel, marketing and innovation director for Diageo in Mexico, said: “Our story with Mezcal Unión began with a distribution partnership in 2016 and we are now taking it to a new level”. 

“We are delighted to continue working with its founders and welcome this brand to our Reserve portfolio, which includes exceptional brands across exciting and fast-growing categories like tequila and mezcal.” 

Diageo’s foray into the artisanal spirit scene is timely as the burgeoning craze of drinking liquor mainly in cocktail parties and social or corporate gatherings are driving the growth of the global crafts spirit market, according to Industry Arc. 

The market research firm notes that as a result the artisanal spirits market valued at US$ 46.7Bn in 2019 is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 25.33% during the forecast period 2020-2025, presenting alcoholic beverage companies new opportunities for growth.  

Commenting on the acquisition, Alejandro Gutierrez Champion, Mezcal Unión’s co-founder said: “We believe in the power of transformation through collaboration. This approach has supported both the growth of the brand and of local communities and agave farmers in Oaxaca. 

We are proud to have delighted consumers with an excellent artisanal-craft mezcal and are confident that as part of Diageo… Mezcal Unión will continue to support the development of the category, open doors to new markets and strengthen our brand mission.” 

Diageo said that deal, which is subject to regulatory clearances, will be funded through existing cash. 

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