Mexico: Bacardi Acquires Ilegal Mezcal

Bacardi Limited, the world's largest privately held international spirits company, announced today the successful completion of a transaction that solidifies the family-owned company as the sole proprietor of Ilegal Mezcal, a prominent super-premium artisanal mezcal brand.

This development comes after a prosperous partnership between Bacardi and Ilegal since 2015.

The super-premium plus mezcal category is experiencing rapid growth and is projected to achieve a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16% over the next five years, as per IWSR. Between now and 2027, the agave category, encompassing mezcal and tequila, is expected to become the sixth largest category globally, having recently surpassed American Whiskey to become the second largest category (by value) in the United States. With an 86% global market share, the United States dominates the super-premium mezcal category (Source: 2022 IWSR).

"We are confident that Ilegal possesses the credentials to lead the global super-premium mezcal category. Ilegal seamlessly complements our existing portfolio, and its inclusion within our business positions the brand for further expansion as mezcal captures the interest of an increasing number of consumers," stated Barry Kabalkin, Vice Chairman of Bacardi Limited.

Bacardi and Ilegal share a mutual commitment to community, quality, and environmental sustainability, which they intend to strengthen together as part of their long-term investment strategy. As a family-owned enterprise spanning seven generations, Bacardi is continually building for the future to uphold its enduring legacy," affirmed Mahesh Madhavan, Bacardi Limited's Chief Executive Officer.

Ilegal is renowned globally for its lifestyle branding and takes pride in being a responsible and sustainable enterprise. They collaborate with fourth-generation maestros mezcaleros in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico, to create Ilegal Mezcal, which is double distilled in small batches from 100% Espadin agave.

Ilegal Mezcal is 100% natural and eschews artificial colors, yeasts, flavors, or additives. It holds certification as artisanal mezcal from the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM).

Founded by John Rexer in 2006, Ilegal has sought to introduce the finest artisanal mezcal to a global audience after years of collaborating with small distillers in Oaxaca to produce mezcal for his bar in Guatemala. Rexer has been actively involved in working alongside distillers in Oaxaca to create sustainable employment opportunities and contribute positively to environmental conservation and the preservation of local culture. John Rexer will continue to shape the brand's vision.

"We are enthusiastic about the next phase of our journey. Success for ILEGAL extends beyond expanding our product presence; it entails building our business in an ethical manner. Our commitment to artisanal production, the Oaxacan community, and our core values remains unwavering.

“Becoming a part of Bacardi will enable Ilegal to reach a broader audience while upholding our dedication to sustainability and responsible business growth," expressed John Rexer.

Ilegal Mezcal is available in Joven, characterized by a full-bodied agave flavor with a subtle smokiness; Reposado, which undergoes a six-month aging process in medium-charred American oak barrels; and Añejo, aged for 13 months, using a combination of new and used American oak barrels with medium charring.

The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

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