Campari Group acquires initial 70% stake in Wilderness Trail Distillery

31 October, 2022

Campari Group has announced it has reached an agreement to purchase an initial 70% interest, and in 2031 the remaining 30% interest, of the outstanding capital of Wilderness Trail Distillery, LLC.

Wilderness Trail Distillery, located in Danville, Kentucky, USA, was launched in 2012 as a ‘premium craft distillery’ with a focus on making high quality bourbon and rye whiskey. 

Shane Baker and Dr. Pat Heist, co-founders of Wilderness Trail Distillery said: “Premium bourbon and rye whiskies and state-of-the art production facilities coupled with worldwide distribution, first class marketing and expertise across multiple spirit categories provide the perfect foundation for the continued success of the Wilderness Trail brand and ensure it will be enjoyed around the world for years to come. This is a win-win situation for both parties and we are very proud of this partnership and what we can achieve together with our shared vision.”

Campari Group’s bourbon journey started in 2009 with the acquisition of the Wild Turkey brand and distillery. Since then, Campari Group has focused on the premiumisation journey of the Wild Turkey franchise. 

In 2017 Campari Group also launched its Whisky Barons Collection, including Old Ripy, Bond&Lillard and William Butler Saffell. This year, it acquired an initial minority interest with path to control in Howler Head Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, together with exclusive global distribution rights.

Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group, said: ‘By adding the fast-growing Wilderness Trail brand we further expand and premiumise our bourbon offering, priming it to become Campari Group’s second major leg after the aperitif portfolio. In addition, we have the opportunity to significantly expand our production capacity and ageing inventory to satisfy the future growth of our premium bourbons, such as the high potential Whiskey Barons range, currently capped due to capacity constraints.”

Leveraging the operational infrastructure, the founders launched two premium proprietary Wilderness Trail expressions in 2018: Wilderness Trail Bourbon and Wilderness Trail Rye Whiskey. The portfolio has been further premiumised with the introduction of the high-end silver label six year and eight year bourbon line.

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