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Gruppo Campari offloads Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist to Heaven Hill Brands

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Gruppo Campari has sold its Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist brands to Heaven Hill Brands for US$165m.

Heaven Hills purchase includes the Irish Mist honey liqueur

Heaven Hill's purchase includes the Irish Mist honey liqueur

The company said today the brands, which Campari acquired in 2010, will be sold through the divestment of subsidiary TJ Carolan & Son. The unit controls the Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist range, which comprises Irish Mist Liqueur and Irish Mist Whiskey.

Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said the sale of the three brands was the company's biggest disposal and would help Campari further increase its focus on its core spirits brands. In June, the company completed its full exit from the still wine category, offloading Château de Sancerre to Maison Ackerman.

"With this transaction, we continue to streamline our non-strategic portfolio and further increase our focus on our priority spirit brands, particularly in our largest and core US market," Kunze-Concewitz said.

Media reports in May, citing people familiar to the matter, said Campari was exploring a sale of the Carolans and Irish Mist brands, which the company acquired from William Grant & Sons. At the time, Campari declined to comment on the reports.

Carolans is the second-largest selling Irish cream whiskey liqueur world-wide. Irish Mist Liqueur, the first liqueur to be produced in Ireland, is a blend of Irish whiskey, honey and spices, while Irish Mist is a triple-distilled Irish whiskey. Last year, the brands achieved net sales of US$34m and today's selling price corresponds to a CAAP (contribution after A&P) multiple of nine-times. As part of today's deal, Campari will continue to distribute the Carolans and Irish Mist brands outside the US. 

Heaven Hill president Max Shapira said the brands are a good fit for the company's portfolio, which also includes the Deep Eddy vodka and Evan Williams Bourbon brands. The transaction is expected to complete on 1 August.

"We look forward to building on the success these brands have achieved both in the US and around the world," Shapira said.

Heaven Hill is also in the process of building a new distillery for Deep Eddy vodka. In an interview with just-drinks in June, Shapira said the distillery would be completed in July or August this year.

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