Campari Purchases Wilderness Trail in Massive Deal
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Campari Purchases Wilderness Trail in Massive Deal Valuing the Whiskey Distillery at $600 Million

Wilderness Trail

Wilderness Trail Distillery founders Shane Baker and Dr. Pat Heist are pictured. Campari Group has purchased Wilderness Trail. (Photo: Wilderness Trail/Campari)

Italy-based Campari Group on Monday announced it has reached an agreement to purchase 70% of Kentucky-based Wilderness Trail Distillery for $420 million, valuing the distillery at $600 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Campari will purchase the remaining 30% of Wilderness Trail in 2031.

“We are very excited to take a controlling interest in world-class Wilderness Trail Distillery,” Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group, said in a news release. “By adding the fast-growing super premium Wilderness Trail brand we further expand and premiumize our bourbon offering, priming it to become Campari Group’s second major leg after the aperitif portfolio. Moreover, we accelerate our premiumization journey, further enriching our rare portfolio, the division aimed to unlock and accelerate the growth potential of a select range of high-end individual expressions in our core premium spirits markets. In addition, we have the opportunity to significantly expand our production capacity and aging inventory to satisfy the future growth of our premium bourbons, such as the high potential Whiskey Barons range, currently capped due to capacity constraints. We are very excited to partner with such a strong team of industry pioneers and distilling experts allowing us to accelerate and significantly expand the innovation platform for our bourbon portfolio.”

Wilderness Trail was launched in 2012. Its portfolio includes a single-barrel bourbon, single-barrel rye and Bottled in Bond bourbon.

Wilderness Trail was founded by Shane Baker and Dr. Pat Heist, fermentation experts with more than 20 years of experience in whiskey production.

“We are thrilled about our partnership with Campari Group,” Baker and Heist said in the news release. “Premium bourbon and rye whiskies and state-of-the art production facilities coupled with worldwide distribution, first class marketing and expertise across multiple spirit categories provide the perfect foundation for the continued success of the Wilderness Trail brand and ensure it will be enjoyed around the world for years to come. This is a win-win situation for both parties and we are very proud of this partnership and what we can achieve together with our shared vision.”

Wilderness Trail isn’t Sazerac’s first Kentucky whiskey distillery with the initials “W.T.” The conglomerate also owns Wild Turkey.

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David Morrow is the managing editor of Whiskey Raiders and has been with the company since September 2021. David has worked in journalism since 2015 and has had bylines at Sports Illustrated, Def Pen, the Des Moines Register and the Quad City Times. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Saint Louis University and a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. When he’s not tasting the newest exciting whiskey releases, David enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, watching sports and traveling.