Maryland Rye Producer Sagamore Spirit Sells to Illva Saronno
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Italian Conglomerate Illva Saronno Enters American Whiskey Category With Acquisition of Baltimore Rye Producer Sagamore Spirit

Sagamore Spirit

A view of the Sagamore Spirit distillery in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo: Sagamore Spirit)

Italian Multinational Company Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A. has purchased a majority stake of the Baltimore, Maryland-based rye whiskey distillery Sagamore Spirit, the companies announced Thursday.

Sagamore Spirit is a well-regarded rye whiskey brand, having won awards including a Double Gold Medal at the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a World’s Best Rye Whiskey Award at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. We’re particularly fond of Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Rye Whiskey.

“Growing Sagamore Spirit has been an incredibly rewarding experience with a team that has obsessed every detail across this holistically Maryland grain-to-glass whiskey business,” Kevin Plank, the executive chairman and brand chief of Under Armour and founder of Sagamore Ventures, said in a news release. “I want to thank Illva Saronno Holding for their team’s passion in understanding the specialness of our unique product and look forward to the outstanding horsepower they can add into its next chapter.”

Illva Soronno Holding owns Royal Oak Distillery, which produces Irish whiskey brand The Busker. The acquisition of Sagamore Spirit, however, marks the company’s first move into the American whiskey space.

Illva Soronno Holding revealed that it has decided to relocate its North American headquarters to Maryland.

“As we look to expand Sagamore Spirit to new markets, we believe that relocating our North American headquarters will allow us to maintain the strong Maryland-based connection and invest in the local community that has empowered this brand to thrive,” said Robert Cullins, executive vice president of Disaronno International LLC.

Illva Soronno Holding is best known for Disaronno, an Italian liqueur that is popular around the world.

“We are thrilled to announce this transaction, which supports our portfolio strategy to acquire high growth, attractive margin brands, and in this case, broaden our offering into the premium American whiskey segment,” said Aldino Marzorati, CEO of Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A. “We have built a strong presence with Disaronno International LLC in the US market, and this opportunity allows us to strengthen our portfolio with a company and products that we fully believe in.”

Illva Soronno Holding also owns three Italian wine brands: Corvo, Duca di Salaparuta and Florio. Additionally, it is a part-owner of Modi Illva India, which produces Arctic Vodka and two fast-growing Indian whiskeys, The Rockford Reserve and Rockford Classic. Illva Soronno also owns one-third of Chinese wine and brandy company Changyu.

In August, Sagamore Spirit was named an official partner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.

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David Morrow is the Editor In Chief 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.