French spirits conglomerate Moët Hennessy announced on Wednesday that it bought the Woodinville Whiskey Company and plans to take the Eastside whiskey to markets across America and overseas as well.
Woodinville Whiskey Company, the craft distillery that was once just a humble, local brand, is about to become a global name.
The French spirits company Moët Hennessy announced Wednesday it has purchased the Eastside distillery with plans to sell its bourbon not just across the country but also overseas.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In the whiskey world, Moët Hennessy is known more for its single malts, with brands such as Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. The purchase of Woodinville Whiskey signaled that the European spirits company is expanding to the competitive American rye and bourbon market. It also recently entered into the high-end tequila market with Volvan De Mi Tierra.
In a prepared statement, Christophe Navarre, President and CEO of Moët Hennessy, said “We are convinced that Woodinville fits very well within the Moët Hennessy portfolio,” and that it has “significant potential for expanded distribution through our US and international networks.”
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Woodinville Whiskey co-founder Orlin Sorensen added, “We are very proud about what we have accomplished since founding Woodinville Whiskey Company just a few years ago. As we considered the many strategic opportunities before us, it was clear that being part of the Moët Hennessy portfolio and distribution network will allow us to reach our goals much more quickly.”
Moet Hennessy said Sorensen and Brett Carlile “will continue to oversee” Woodinville Whiskey’s daily operations. The two friends started the company when the state distillery boom started seven years ago. By 2016, The American Distilling Institute, which focused on craft distilling, named it the “Whiskey of the Year.” Earlier this year the Institute also named it “Best Rye Whiskey for 2017.”
Updated at 4:20 p.m. In a phone interview from the Moët Hennessy headquarters in New York City, Sorensen said that the Eastside distillery will remain in Woodinville and that he and his business partners will continue to source their grains from the Omlin Family Farm in Quincy, Wa.
“Nothing has changed. The day after it (the deal) was finalized, Brett and I were unloading a container of bottles,” Sorensen said. “It’s business as usual.”
Woodinville Whiskey Company, which makes about 50,000 cases annually, will increase production and expand into other states before it enters the international market at some point in the future, he said.