Teeling Whiskey Company has signed a deal with Bacardi that will expand its U.S. distribution while also selling a minority stake in the company to the Bermuda-based private drinks company.
Although Teeling had been imported into the U.S. since 2014, the new deal should greatly increase the company’s market access. The U.S. is the world’s single most lucrative whiskey market, and the overwhelming majority of Ireland’s whiskey production goes there.
Teeling was started as an independent bottler and blender, and currently continues to operate as such for the most part. In 2015, the company opened a €10m distillery with visitor center in Dublin, winning the race to open the first working distillery in the city in 125 years. However, it will be at least one more year before even a drop of the distillery’s initial production can find its way into any of Teeling’s products, as Irish law specifies a minimum three year aging period.
Bacardi is the world’s largest family-owned, private drinks company, but heretofore it’s whiskey holdings have been limited. The company acquired Dewar’s and some of the associated distilleries from Diageo in 1998, but it was not until 2015 that they moved into the American whiskey sector by buying Angel’s Envy. Acquiring a minority stake in Teeling marks their third step into the world whiskey trade.