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July 27, 2022

E&J Gallo Winery enters American whiskey with Horse Soldier Bourbon investment

The brand is currently sold in 17 states across the US.

By James Beeson

E&J Gallo Winery has added another brand to its Spirit of Gallo division, making a “strategic investment” in small-batch American whiskey maker Horse Soldier Bourbon.

The deal – terms of which were not disclosed by either party – will see Spirit of Gallo begin distributing the brand in the US, effective immediately. Horse Soldier Bourbon is sold in 17 states across the country.

“Today marks an important date in Gallo company history as Spirit of Gallo enters the large and rapidly growing American whiskey category,” said the unit’s general manager Britt West. “Horse Soldier Bourbon has built an extremely loyal consumer following and will allow us the opportunity to serve our partners and customers in new and exciting ways.”

Horse Solider Bourbon was founded in 2016 by John Koko, Elizabeth Pritchard-Koko, Scott Neil, alongside US soldiers that entered Afghanistan on horseback after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

West said the brand represented “an alignment of family values, legacies and pioneering spirits”. He added Spirit of Gallo would look to expand the “visibility and availability” of its range across the US.

Horse Solider Bourbon’s roster comprises three expressions: Straight Bourbon Whiskey (SRP US$49.99), Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey ($69.99), and Barrel Strength Bourbon Whiskey ($79.99).

Earlier this year, E&J Gallo Winery set up Spirit of Gallo as a dedicated umbrella business unit for its spirits operations. The unit represents 24 spirits brands, including New Amsterdam Vodka, Camarena Tequila and RumHaven, as well as Gallo’s hard seltzer brand, High Noon.

It also looks after the US importing responsibilities held by Gallo for the likes of Whyte & Mackay’s Dalmore single malt Scotch whisky and Diplomatico rum, owned by Venezuela-based Destilerias Unidas.

“Right now, success is about outperforming the market” – Craig Johnson, head of the American Whiskey Collective at Pernod Ricard

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