Apax Partners has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Ole Smoky Distillery from Centerview Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. The deal is expected to close by April 2022. Based in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Ole Smoky is a distiller of moonshines and whiskeys.
Funds advised by Apax Partners LLP ( “Apax”) today announced that they have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Ole Smoky Distillery (“Ole Smoky” or the “Company”), one of the fastest growing spirits companies in the US, from Centerview Capital. Ole Smoky founders Joe Baker and Cory Cottongim, and management will remain significant shareholders in the Company. The transaction is expected to close by April 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Established in 2010 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Ole Smoky is a leading distiller of premium moonshines and whiskeys that are renowned for their high quality, innovative and award-winning flavors. In 2021, the Beverage Information Group awarded Ole Smoky five Growth Brand Awards. The company has also been recognized for two consecutive years on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies and has been a winner of Shanken’s Impact Hot Brand Award every year since 2017.
As one of the largest craft distillers in the U.S. and the most visited in the world, Ole Smoky sold over 1 million 9L cases in 2021 and holds the No. 1 share position in moonshine according to NielsenIQ. The Company retails its products across all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world, through over forty-five thousand points of distribution and four experiential distilleries that welcomed over 5.7 million visitors in 2021.
Centerview Capital invested in Ole Smoky in 2013. Since its investment, Centerview Capital has helped the Company accelerate its growth, broaden its product portfolio of high-quality spirits and expand its differentiated distilleries business. Ole Smoky has nearly quadrupled in size under Centerview Capital’s ownership. Centerview Capital values its partnership with Joe Baker, Cory Cottongim, and the management team led by Robert Hall.
The Apax team, working in partnership with Ole Smoky’s management team, will look to accelerate the Company’s already impressive growth rate, building on the success it has already achieved to date, through continued investment in the core brand, and support the strategic acquisition of complementary brands in American Whiskey and adjacent categories.