Diageo to purchase Aviation Gin in $610m deal

17 August, 2020

Diageo will purchase Aviation Gin and several sister brands in a deal worth up to $610 million.

The Tanqueray, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff supplier will pay $335 million upfront to acquire Davos Brands LLC. The deal could rise to $610 million depending on sales.

The Davos Brands portfolio includes Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal and TYKU Sake, but Aviation Gin is the star acquisition.

It shot to prominence after Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds became a co-owner and creative director for the brand in 2018. He has been the face of Aviation Gin ever since, helping it become the second largest super-premium gin brand in the US, according to IWSR.

Reynolds will retain an ongoing ownership interest in Aviation after it joins the Diageo portfolio. He said: “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit.

“What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring. Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with.

“I want to thank Diageo for their incredible team and passion. We’re so excited for the next chapter of Aviation Gin, which, I promise, will require just as little reading.”

Diageo bought Casamigos, the tequila brand co-owned by George Clooney, in a deal worth up to $1 billion. It has also collaborated with rapper Diddy to create Ciroc vodka.

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “The acquisition of Aviation American Gin and the Davos Brands portfolio is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumisation.

“We are confident that Aviation American Gin will continue to shape and drive the growth of super premium gin in North America and we are looking forward to working with Ryan Reynolds and the Davos Brands team to accelerate future growth.”

The transaction will be funded through existing cash and Diageo expects it to close before the end of 2020.

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