The future Angel's Envy distillery on East Main is scheduled to open in 2016.
The future Angel’s Envy distillery on East Main is scheduled to open in 2016.

It was announced this morning that Bacardi Limited has purchased Louisville-based Angel’s Share Brands, the producer of Angel’s Envy Port-Finished Bourbon, along with subsidiary Louisville Distilling Co. The sale marks Bacardi’s first foray into the bourbon market.

The good news? The press release makes it clear that Angel’s Envy will continue as a standalone operation — meaning the business structure, employee base, production, distribution, and commercial and marketing activities will remain unchanged. And Wes Henderson, son of the late Angel’s Envy creator Lincoln Henderson, will stay on as the bourbon’s Global Brand Ambassador.

Jonathan Blue, whose private equity firm Blue Equity is an Angel’s Envy investor, tells Insider he was happy with the sale.

“Very pleased to have been a significant part of helping build such a wonderful brand and extremely pleased with our investment,” Blue said. “We will continue to look to be a part of companies that can help to highlight our city and put Louisville on the world map.”

The under-construction Angel’s Envy distillery on East Main Street still is scheduled to open in 2016.

large_angels-envy-rye-th“Bacardi has a long history of successful acquisitions of cutting-edge brands. Bacardi looks for the gems of innovation in the spirits world to complement our premium and super-premium brands, and Angel’s Envy is a natural fit for our portfolio,” Barry Kabalkin, vice chairman of Bacardi Limited, said in the press release. “We are thrilled to add Angel’s Envy, one of the most exciting brands in the North American whiskey category today, to our highly focused portfolio of iconic brands.”

Angel’s Envy is one of the top 10 fastest-growing super-premium bourbons in the United States, and its portfolio, which includes cask strength and a rye whiskey finished in rum casks, has garnered nods from industry publications and experts.

“Angel’s Envy, like Bacardi, was founded as a family-owned business driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. The secrets to crafting Angel’s Envy have been well preserved by three generations of the Henderson family,” said Bacardi chairman Facundo L. Bacardi, a fifth-generation Bacardi family member. “Bacardi is well recognized for showcasing the unique heritage and origin of our brands, so I’m thrilled that the Henderson family, under the stewardship of Global Brand Ambassador Wes Henderson, will continue to be directly involved with the Angel’s Envy brand.”

Bacardi Limited — the largest family-owned spirits company — is headquartered in Bermuda and owns more than 200 brands and labels, including Bacardi rum, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin and Dewar’s scotch whisky.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."