Campari Group Agrees to Purchase Wilderness Trail Distillery in Kentucky for $600M

by John Nelson

DANVILLE, KY. — Campari Group, a global spirits distributor based in Milan, has agreed to purchase Wilderness Trail Distillery, a bourbon and rye whiskey distiller based in Danville. Campari purchased an initial 70 percent stake in the company for $420 million, and in 2031 will have the option to purchase the remaining 30 percent interest for $180 million. Wilderness Trail was founded in 2012 and in 2018 launched two new whiskey brands: Wilderness Trail Bourbon and Wilderness Trail Rye Whiskey. The company operates a 168-acre campus in Danville and has approximately 100,000 barrels aging in its six rickhouses, according to the company’s website.

This is the second largest acquisition for Campari, with its 2016 purchase of Grand Marnier being the largest, according to Reuters. The Wilderness Trail transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close before the end of 2022. Wilderness Trail will continue to operate independently until the transaction closes.

William Blair & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Wilderness Trail, and Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff LLP acted as its legal advisor. McDermott Will & Emery LLP acted as tax and legal advisor to Campari Group, whose other whiskey labels include Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve.

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