John Distilleries Private Limited (“JDPL” or “Company,”), a leading Indian spirits company, announced at the end of last week that The Sazerac Company (“Sazerac,”) the largest family-owned spirits company in the United States and owners of Fireball, Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace Bourbon and E.H. Taylor Bourbon, has acquired an equity stake in JDPL from Gaja Capital, who will continue to remain partially invested in the Company.
JDPL is a leading spirits company in India with gross revenues of over INR 28 billion in FY17. With sales of more than 13 million cases, JDPL’s portfolio includes Original Choice Whisky, the seventh largest selling whisky in the world; Bangalore Malt, the fastest growing millionaire brand in the world; Paul John Single Malt (PJSM), an award winning super premium whisky, and Big Banyan wines, one of India’s leading premium wine brands. This strategic partnership marks Sazerac’s entry into the Indian market, one of the largest and fastest growing markets for spirits in the world.
Paul John, JDPL’s Chairman and Managing Director, said, “Sazerac’s technological expertise coupled with a global portfolio of brands spread across all spirit categories, will be an added advantage for JDPL both in domestic and in global markets. We look forward to this partnership with Sazerac and in continuing to make our brands even stronger. We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Gaja Capital who will continue as shareholders. They have made important contributions to our success through their deep understanding of the Indian consumer, substantial operating value-add and an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Sazerac and JDPL are both family-owned companies and both have taken similar strategic paths, initially developing leading regional brands, followed by launching global premium brands. “We are extraordinarily excited to be able to establish this partnership in India, and look forward to working with Paul John and his team in supporting JDPL’s iconic brands,” said Mark Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Sazerac Company.
Ranjit Shah, Managing Partner at Gaja Capital, said, “Guided by Paul’s strategic vision, the Company has seen its scale and profitability grow rapidly in India and abroad on the strength of an increasing brand portfolio backed by a robust manufacturing back-end. We welcome Sazerac to India and are excited about the significant value that this partnership can create in what is one the most attractive spirits markets in the world.”
Jefferies India acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Gaja Capital and Sazerac was advised by Rabobank.