Corby Spirit and Wine, Pernod Ricard’s majority-owned Canadian business, has acquired a 90% stake in Canadian RTD producer Ace Beverage Group.

The deal, struck for C$185.5m ($111m), includes an option for Corby to fully acquire the RTD manufacturer through a series of call options on the remaining shares that can be enacted in 2025 and 2028.

Corby has indicated it will use available cash and financing of the amount of C$120m from Pernod Ricard to complete the deal.

ABG was founded in 2020 when Cottage Springs and Ace Hill merged, making ABG one of Canada’s largest independent RTD producers. Its core brands are Cottage Springs vodka soda, vodka water, Ace Hill and Tequila soda.

“With ABG, Corby becomes a key player in the Canadian RTD market, giving the scale and synergies needed in this category. It is well aligned with our ambition of building a global RTD business and capture our fair share,” Fredrik Syrén, global managing director of RTD and convenience, at Pernod.

The French giant expects the acquisition to strengthen its RTD portfolio in North America. It plans to use Corby’s distribution network to grow ABG’s market share.

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Corby CEO Nicolas Krantz said: “Corby’s sustained growth, as well as Pernod Ricard’s, relies on our ability to bring even more exciting choices to our consumers, by continually expanding into new and promising categories. RTDs are one such category and we are excited to partner with such visionary entrepreneurs to further develop our rich portfolio of RTDs now made up of ABG, Corby and Pernod Ricard brands.”

Last year, Pernod Ricard invested $22m into a production facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as the group looked to improve its RTD cocktail manufacturing capabilities in North America. That investment included the installation of a high-speed canning line and eight 50,000-gallon (190,000l) tanks.

According to GlobalData, sales of ‘Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages’, which includes RTDs and hard seltzers, are set to top 7bn litres by 2026.

It also emerged this week that Pernod had invested in New Zealand-based alcohol-free drinks business AF Drinks.