By Richard Thomas
For years, the Indiana distillery known as MGP Ingredients has sat quietly in the background. While it was one of the largest whiskey producers in America, it’s function was to make stock either for brands owned by whatever parent company owned it at the time (Seagram, Pernod Ricard) or for sale to other whiskey producers and bottlers. Even Four Roses, which for a time was also mainly in the business of making stock for various brands, at least had a brand identity of its own. Not so much for MGP.
During the past two years, that has slowly begun to change. In 2014 and 2015, MGP released limited edition bourbons under its own label, Metze’s Select, named for then-Master Distiller Greg Metze, who retired earlier this year.
Now MGP has acquired the George Remus bourbon brand from Ohio-based Queen City Whiskey, LLC for an undisclosed sum. Remus bourbon was sourced through MGP, so acquiring the brand is both essentially bringing it home, but also an important step for MGP in developing an in-house portfolio of whiskey brands.
“While our core business will continue to be supplying other brand owners with premium distilled spirits, development of our own portfolio of brands is an important part of our long-term strategy,” said MGP President and CEO Gus Griffin. “The George Remus brand is very appealing due to the strength of the brand concept and the outstanding early stage development and marketing work done by the founders. We believe the brand is now at a state of evolution where we can add valuable resources to help it reach its full potential.”