Rabbit Hole Distillery is located at 727 E. Jefferson St. | Photo by Sara Havens

Pernod Ricard, the second largest producer of wine and spirits in the world, has purchased a majority stake in Louisville’s Rabbit Hole Distilling, according to a news release. Rabbit Hole will join a portfolio that includes Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Glenlivet scotch, Beefeater gin, and Malibu rum.

Rabbit Hole founder Kaveh Zamanian will keep the majority of his shares in Rabbit Hole and will continue to operate the company. The move certainly will expand distribution opportunities for Rabbit Hole’s current lineup, which includes two bourbons, a rye whiskey and a gin.

“Pernod Ricard and I share the same entrepreneurial values and our ethos and strategic visions are fully aligned,” said Zamanian in the release. “By leveraging Pernod Ricard’s extensive distribution network to reach new consumers, we are able to strengthen Rabbit Hole’s position as a brand and amplify its presence as a new voice in American whiskey. In partnership with Pernod Ricard, Rabbit Hole is poised to reach new heights. I am very excited about this partnership and our future together.”

Pernod also recently partnered with Smooth Ambler, a distillery in West Virginia that makes bourbon and whiskey. By acquiring smaller brands like Smooth Ambler and Rabbit Hole, the company adds value to its portfolio and increases its distribution.

“This partnership is the perfect implementation of our long-term investment strategy to create sustainable value,” said Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, in the release. “Kaveh and I embrace the same entrepreneurial spirit. Rabbit Hole is a fast-growing brand, strongly rooted in its terroir and very well positioned in the high-end bourbon and Kentucky whiskey categories. We are excited to take the brand to the next stage of its very promising development.”

Rabbit Hole opened its distillery in 2018 in NuLu and produces 1.2 million proof gallons annually.

This isn’t the first Louisville-based distillery to be pursued by a larger company. In 2015, Bacardi Limited bought Angel’s Envy, and in 2018, Constellation Brands purchased a minority stake in Copper & Kings.

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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."