Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur is the second-best selling Irish liqueur in the world. | Courtesy of Heaven Hill

Heaven Hill Brands has expanded its portfolio today, tapping into the Irish spirit market with the purchase of two well-known liqueurs — Carolans Irish Cream and Irish Mist — from Gruppo Campari for $165 million. The Bardstown-based company will purchase 100 percent of the share capital of TJ Carolan & Son Ltd., and part of the sale will include a distribution agreement with Gruppo Campari.

Irish Mist dates back to 1947. | Courtesy of Heaven Hill

Heaven Hill is known for its top-selling bourbons like Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Larceny and Henry McKenna, but it also owns brands like Deep Eddy Vodka, Lunazul Tequila and HPNOTIQ Liqueur.

Carolans Irish Cream is the second-largest selling Irish cream in the world, and it is made from a blend of fresh cream, honey and Irish whiskey. Meanwhile, Irish Mist comes two ways — as a liqueur and as a whiskey. The liqueur was the first to be produced in Ireland and is a blend of whiskey, honey and natural spices.

“We are excited to add to Carolans and Irish Mist to our portfolio of leading brands,” said Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill, in a press release. “The historic brands are certainly complementary fits for a Heaven Hill portfolio built on quality and innovation. We look forward to building on the success these brands have achieved both in the U.S. and around the world.”

Carolans was developed in 1978 and has grown steadily ever since. It’s second in the marketplace for Irish creams, with Bailey’s being the largest seller. Irish Mist was first developed in Tullamore, Ireland, in 1947, and its recipe is believed to be about 1,000 years old.

The sale is expected to close on Aug. 1.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. 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."


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