Nelsons Green Brier Distillery produces Belle Meade Bourbon

Nelson's Green Brier Distillery produces Belle Meade Bourbon

Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in US craft whiskey producer Nelson's Green Brier Distillery.

The investment, announced today, is the second for Constellation Ventures, the company's corporate venture capital function. The first investment was made last August when the company bought a stake in high-end RTD producer Crafthouse Cocktails. 

Constellation said that Nelson's Green Brier Distillery will continue to operate independently to produce, market and sell its products.

Bill Newlands, executive VP & chief growth officer at Constellation Brands, said the distillery encompasses two of the "hottest trends in spirits - whiskey and craft".

According to the company, Nelson's Green Brier Distillery was one of the largest whiskey producers in the US before Prohibition forced it to close in 1909. It was reopened in 2014 by the founder's descendants, Andy and Charlie Nelson. The pair are said to use the original family recipe for their Tennessee whiskey. The company also produces Belle Meade Bourbon.

Charlie Nelson, CEO of Nelson's Green Brier Distillery, said: "With the support and business acumen of Constellation Ventures, we are eager to progress to the next level in re-establishing our family business while building a strong portfolio of whiskies."

The distillery is in Nashville, Tennessee. Financial details were not disclosed and the company declined to comment on the size of the stake. 

Last week, Constellation Brands' CEO defended the US$1bn his company paid for craft brewer Ballast Point, saying the price tag was "reasonable" for such a high-growth brand.