In a not-entirely-surprising turn of events, Bacardi has upped its 30% stake in premium tequila brand Patrón to go all in on the tequila business in a deal valued at an eye-watering $5.1 billion.
I say not entirely surprising because tequila, and especially sipping tequila, has become big business in the US market while rum and coke… is not so popular.
Bacardi are a long way from being the first to buy into premium tequila. Diageo bought Casamigos from George Clooney and his partners back in June for a hearty $1 billion. Pernod Ricard went all in on Avión earlier this month. Neither brand produces anywhere near the quantity of liquor as Patrón.
Here in the UK, I still see premium tequila as a niche but growing business. It will be interesting to see where this sector of the market heads with so much financial clout behind it.
As London finally embraces decent Mexican food, I’m noticing more and more quality tequila and, more excitingly, mezcal in bars across the city. And one can’t underestimate the impact of the Wahaca chain in bringing these flavours to an increasingly curious public.
More on mezcal later in the week.