Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Pernod Ricard to Buy Majority Stake in Canada’s Ace Beverage

Pernod Ricard SA agreed to buy a majority stake in Canada’s Ace Beverage Group as the maker of Absolut Vodka and Jameson Irish Whiskey looks to boost its position in the growing category of pre-mixed cocktails.

Pernod’s Canadian affiliate Corby Spirit and Wine will acquire a 90% stake in closely held Ace at an enterprise value of C$165 million ($123 million), Pernod said in a statement Tuesday.

Ace’s flagship brand Cottage Springs is the leading pre-mixed cocktail brand in Ontario, Pernod said, with products that include Cottage Springs Vodka Soda and Tequila Soda. The segment, which includes hard seltzers, is expected to grow by 8% between 2022 and 2026, an increase of $11.6 billion across major markets, according to analysis firm IWSR.

Canada has been one of the fastest growing markets for canned cocktails, with annual growth of more than 20% between 2016 and 2021, according to Pernod. Ace will benefit from Corby’s distribution network, it said.

With the deal, Ace’s main focus will be to expand in Canada outside of its home province of Ontario, co-founder Cam McDonald said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Television.

“Corby tremendously accelerates our ability to become the number one RTD company in Canada,” McDonald said, referring to the so-called ready-to-drink segment.

Ace’s sales have returned to double-digit growth rates this year after slowing in 2022 as consumers returned to bars and restaurants post pandemic, he added.

The French beverage company will have the right to acquire Ace’s remaining shares through two call options exercisable in 2025 and 2028.


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