Campari Buys Montelobos Mezcal to Tap Thirst for Mexican Liquor

(Bloomberg) -- Davide Campari-Milano SpA is acquiring Montelobos, a popular mezcal brand, to slake the world’s growing thirst for Mexican spirits distilled from the agave plant.

The maker of Aperol liqueur is buying a controlling interest in Montelobos, as well as Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, for a combined total of $35.7 million. The Italian company aims to build on the double-digit growth of its Espolon tequila in the U.S.

Campari sees opportunity in the boom in mixed cocktails while making a new foray into the mezcal category, where drinks fetch premium prices, Chief Executive Officer Bob Kunze-Concewitz said in a statement.

The acquisitions follow Absolut vodka distiller Pernod Ricard SA’s takeover of Del Maguey mezcal and rum producer Bacardi Ltd.’s investment in Ilegal mezcal. The world’s largest makers of alcoholic drinks are increasingly focused on small, high-end brands with artisanal cachet, which can sell at well over twice the price of mass-market counterparts.

Campari’s buyout of Ancho Reyes also builds on Kunze-Concewitz’s focus on liqueur as bigger distillers prioritize stronger spirits. In recent years, the company has also bought triple sec brand Grand Marnier and hazelnut liqueur Frangelico while building the Aperol Spritz into one of the world’s most popular drinks.

The Italian distiller expects to close the deal by the end of the year. Campari shares advanced 0.7% in Milan.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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