USA – Molson Coors, a multinational drink and brewing company, has reached an agreement to acquire the Kentucky-based craft whiskey and Bourbon company Blue Run Spirits.
The announcement marks Molson Coors’ first spirits acquisition and strengthens the brewer’s move towards becoming a total beverage company.
Blue Run, which is based in Georgetown, is one of the whiskey industry’s newest entrants since the brand’s launch in October 2020 and the deal marks Molson Coors’ first spirits acquisition.
The brand garnered attention for its allocated release strategy, similar to that of limited-edition sneaker drops.
The idea was proposed by bottle designer Devon McKinney — famous for designing Nike’s Air Force One sneaker — and was intended to revolutionize the way whiskey is brought to consumers, according to Montgomery.
The deal, which represents another step in Molson Coors’ evolution as a total beverage company while providing Blue Run with resources to continue its growth, additionally boosts the company’s footprint in spirits as it continues to evolve from its storied history as a beer company and premiums its portfolio.
According to Molson Coors, this acquisition will more than double the size of the company’s spirits team, further supporting its premiumization strategy.
Currently available in 31 states, Blue Run, with its trademark butterfly medallion on the bottle, had plans of building a US$50 million distillery in Kentucky.
The plans have been taken up by the Molson Coors family with plans for the launch of Blue Run’s three new whiskies scheduled for a late summer release.
In addition to announcing the acquisition, Molson Coors shared news of its new spirits business, Coors Spirits Co., which will house the conglomerate’s growing portfolio of spirits brands.
Blue Run’s founders will all remain with the brand, with Montgomery taking on an expanded role as Molson Coors’ vice president of Coors Spirits Co.
Jim Rutledge, the Bourbon Hall of Famer will serve as Blue Run’s distillery consultant and liquid advisor, and will also stay with the brand, while Shaylyn Gammon, Blue Run’s current whiskey director, will take on the role of whiskey curator for Coors Spirits Co.
Additionally, the $50 million distillery plans Blue Run announced in March 2023 and the brand’s three upcoming releases will be carried out by Molson Coors.
Blue Run’s bourbons and ryes will join Coors’ existing whiskey brands Five Trail Blended American Whiskey, which was launched in 2021, and Barmen 1873 Bourbon, which hit markets the following year.