UK sparkling-winemaker Nyetimber has finalised its acquisition of domestic spirits manufacturer The Lakes Distillery.

The deal, announced in April, sees the West Sussex and Hampshire-based winery scoop the Cumbrian whisky and gin maker for £71m ($90.01m).

The Lakes Distillery was founded in 2011 by Paul Currie, co-founder of Scotland’s Isle of Arran Distillery. Initially producing gin (RRP £36.50), the distiller launched its inaugural single malt whisky, The Whiskymaker’s Reserve, in 2019.  

The Lakes Distillery sells its products in 14 countries, including EU states and the US.

Nyetimber described The Lakes Distillery as “the leading English distiller of premium-quality single malt whisky”. It said the company had a “sizeable opportunity to grow its market share within the UK single-malt whisky market”.

The deal values the company’s issued – and to be issued – share capital at around £46.1m. The Lakes Distillery’s shareholders approved the deal at a general meeting on 10 May.

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James Pennefather, former Diageo and William Grant & Sons executive who became The Lakes Distillery CEO last year, said a sale to Nyetimber would help the business meet its international ambitions.

“The Lakes Board is enthusiastic about its ambitious new ten-year plan to achieve a 1% share of the global luxury dark spirits market by 2030,” he said in April.

“This plan entails an additional funding requirement of £10m over the next three years to provide the necessary growth capital to increase production capacity, to further invest in laying down maturing spirit stocks and to grow the brand’s footprint in international markets. The offer by Nyetimber offers the prospect of an owner with the same shared strategic vision and, crucially, certainty of funding,” Pennefather added.

Each of The Lakes Distillery’s managing directors are due to resign following the share buyout.

Nyetimber managing directors Heerema and Hans Sleeuwenhoek will be appointed as directors of The Lakes Distillery.

Writing for Just Drinks at the time of the deal, industry analyst Richard Woodard expressed skepticism about The Lake Distillery’s route-to-market capabilities.

Nyetimber CEO Eric Heerema described the company as having an “inherent understanding and strong relationships with the world’s leading luxury restaurants, bars and retailers”.

Woodard wrote: “Well, yes. The creation of a luxury English wine/spirits tag-team has a neat symmetry about it, but I suspect it’ll take a bit more than having an in with a few fancy restaurants for The Lakes to achieve its avowed target of a 1% share of the global luxury dark spirits market by 2030.”

Heerema purchased Nyetimber for £7.4m in 2006 ($14.1m at the time) and the estate has more than 850 acres across West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.