Italian drinks company Gruppo Campari bought Ontario whisky maker Forty Creek Distillery Ltd. for $185.6 million. The deal includes Forty Creek’s stocks, distillery facilities and the hospitality centre in Grimsby, Ont., just east of Hamilton. Campari says the purchase will help increase its presence in U.S. and international markets where it foresees a rise in consumer demand for brown spirits. Mr. Hall, who built Forty Creek is staying on as chairman and whisky maker. He’ll help guide Campari in its attempts to take advantage of the revival of the “brown spirits” market in the United States, and the worldwide growth in premium whisky sales.
“My dream was to have Forty Creek go global,” Mr. Hall said in an interview. “I couldn’t do it by myself as an independent, but with a partner like Campari, I know it is going to happen.”
Forty Creek brand portfolio includes whisky, vodka, brandy, rum and liqueurs, with Forty Creek Whisky as its core brand.
The Forty Creek whisky family includes Barrel Select, Copper Pot Reserve, Forty Creek Cream Whisky and offers high-end, limited releases including Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Double Barrel and an annual special John K. Hall Reserve release. Among others, Campari brands include Wild Turkey bourbon and Skyy Vodka.
Forty Creek whiskies won Canadian Whisky of the Year champion three years running at the Canadian Whisky Awards (2010-12) and recently captured five gold medals as Best Tasting Whiskies at the Beverage Testing Institute competition in Chicago (2014).