Molson Coors Beverage Co. has moved to bolster its position in spirits with a deal to buy US distiller Blue Run Spirits.
The brewing giant does have a presence in spirits but Blue Run Spirits is the Miller Lite owner’s first acquisition in the category.
Financial details were not disclosed. Kentucky-based Blue Run, set up in 2020, produces Bourbon and rye whiskey, selling in more than 30 US states.
Molson Coors, home to Coors Light and Molson Canadian beers, entered the US whiskey market in 2021 with the launch of its Five Trail blended whiskey. A year later, its fledgling spirits business added Bourbon to its range with the roll-out of Barmen 1873.
The brewer has decided to set up a unit, Coors Spirits Co., to house the two brands and its Blue Run assets.
Molson Coors chief commercial officer Michelle St. Jacques said the company had sought to “broaden beyond our beer roots and build powerful brands in growing categories”.
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The company’s other ventures in spirits and related products include its spirit-based RTDs Topo Chico Spirited. Outside the US, Molson Coors distributes a range of spirits brands in the UK, including Black Cow vodka and Bandero Tequila.
St. Jacques added: “Blue Run has accomplished in three years what many brands hope to do in a generation and has done it at the luxury end of the whiskey category.”
The distiller is planning to build a new distillery in Kentucky. Molson Coors will push on with that project.
Blue Run’s co-founders – CEO Mike Montgomery, COO Andy Brown, general counsel Tim Sparapani and Jesse McKnight – will all “remain with the brand”, Molson Coors said.
Montgomery will become vice president of Coors Spirits Co. Long-time executive David Coors will lead Molson Coors’ “full-strength” spirits strategy as executive chair of the business unit.
“Since launching Blue Run, we have always strived to do things a little differently to truly embrace today’s younger, more diverse generation of whiskey drinkers,” Montgomery said. “We are humbled by how the whiskey community has embraced our vision and that Molson Coors wants to join and support us in this journey.”