Pernod Ricard to buy majority stake in US spirits maker Smooth Ambler Spirits

Pernod Ricard, the world's second-largest spirits group, yesterday struck a deal to buy a majority stake in US spirits maker Smooth Ambler Spirits, in order to strengthen premium craft spirits portfolio.

The deal is being carried out through NBV Investments Inc., a subsidiary of Austin Nichols & Co. Incorporated, an affiliate of New York-based Pernod Ricard USA LLC.

Founded in 2009 and based in the rural Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia, Smooth Ambler Spirits uses regional natural resources and ingredients to produce gins, vodkas, rums and whiskeys, including the Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon, which was recognized recently as the ''Best Single Barrel Bourbon in the World'' at Whisky Magazine's 2016 World Whiskies Awards.

Its portfolio includes Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon, Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon, Greenbrier Gin, Barrel Aged Gin, Whitewater Vodka, and other high-end spirits.

''We are very impressed by Smooth Ambler's successful track record, and we are excited to partner with that team as they continue to produce high quality American Whiskeys.'' said Jeff Agdern, president of NBVI.

''Smooth Ambler is committed to making great spirits, using the best American ingredients,'' said John Little, Smooth Ambler's co-founder and head distiller. ''The investment from NBVI will enable us to introduce our premium craft spirits to many more consumers.'' Smooth Ambler plans to increase production capacity and further expand its local team in West Virginia.'' 

Alexandre Ricard, chairman and CEO of Paris-based Pernod Ricard said: ''This investment illustrates perfectly our strategy of partnering with rising entrepreneurs sharing the same passion for authentic, high-quality brands. It represents a strong opportunity to enter the fast-growing, high-end bourbon market extending even more our fantastic portfolio of genuine brands in our number 1 market.''