Campari Group announced today an agreement with Catalyst Spirits to acquire an initial 15% interest in Howler Head Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with Natural Banana Flavor.
The deal includes a medium-term route to total ownership and to obtain exclusive global distribution rights.
Howler Head is the official flavored whiskey partner of UFC. It is also available in Canada and recently expanded to the U.K.
“With bourbon whiskey serving as one of our global priority brand pillars, Howler Head is an ideal fit for our portfolio,” says Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group. “In addition to being an exceptionally high-quality liquid, Howler Head has established a clearly unique brand personality and, through its deep relationship with UFC, has a huge on-tap worldwide fanbase ready to enjoy this fantastic bourbon.”
Howler Head launched nationally in the U.S. in 2021. In its first full year of operations, the brand sold over 50,000 9-L cases primary to the U.S. and Canada markets only, the company says, and generated overall net sales of $6.7 million. Since the beginning of 2022, Howler Head has expanded its operations in the U.S. and Canada, entered into international markets, and “is on target for significant year-over-year growth.”
“Campari Group has a proven track record for building global brands that consumers truly love and we can think of no better partner as we expand distribution of Howler Head around the world, as well as tap into the vast potential that remains in our existing markets of the U.S., Canada and the U.K.,” says Simon Hunt, CEO of Catalyst Spirits. “In our second full year in market, we are witnessing incredible demand for this product and see endless opportunity for growth as we maximize Campari’s established route-to-market expertise, including its vast sales organization and distributor relationships, both in the U.S. and internationally.”
Campari Group agreed to pay $15 million in cash in the first stage of path to total ownership.
Campari Group can acquire 100% of Howler Head through customary call options based on the future brand results achievements, which can be exercised starting from 2025. The call option valuations imply compelling growth of Howler Head case sales and revenue at each stage of the transaction in the future.
Howler Head starts with bourbon made at Green River Distilling Co. This ages for two years in American white oak barrels with a #4 alligator char in traditional wood rick houses. After, the bourbon is blended with natural banana flavor.
Howler Head is 80 proof. It retails in the U.S. for the suggested retail price of $29.99 per 750-ml. bottle.
In connection with the transaction, Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to UFC, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP acted as legal advisor to Catalyst Spirits and Wilk Auslander LLP acted as legal advisor to Campari Group.