Opinion: The View From My Chair
The acquisitions continue with the latest coming in with Sagamore Spirit Rye and its new majority owner Illva Saronno Holding, an Italian company known for its Italian liqueur Disaronno.
Founded in 2013 by Kevin Plank, executive board member for Under Armor, Illva opened its new distillery in Port Covington of Baltimore, now known as the Baltimore Peninsula. Sagamore Spirit offers a core collection of ryes and its Reserve series featuring various cask-finished ryes such as its Sherry, Rum Cask, Tequila, and Manhattan Finished Rye. Having earned over 200 awards internationally, including the World’s Best Rye Whiskey in 2019 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Sagamore has established itself as a significant player in the world of rye whiskeys.
Illva Saronno is an Italian multinational company, founded by the Reina family in 1947, whose origins date back to the 16th century and has a presence in over 160 countries. While known for Disaronno, a liqueur favored by many around the world, it also has several other known and prestige products such as Tia Maria coffee liqueur, Rabarbaro Zucca Amaro, Artic Vodka, and the recently launched Irish Whiskey “The Busker.”
Aldino Marzorati, CEO of Illva Saronno, states, “We are thrilled to announce this transaction, which supports our portfolio strategy to acquire high growth, attractive margin brands, and in this case, broaden our offering into the premium market American whiskey segment.” Marzorati goes on to say that “with Sagamore Spirits we have the opportunity to enter the attractive bourbon whiskey category and exploit its grown potential around 160 countries where we already have a presence with Disaronno.”
Okay, so what does this all mean?
What this means for Sagamore essentially is an opportunity to enter markets and countries around the world where Illva already has a presence that it may not otherwise have been able to enter. As for Illva, this is an opportunity for them to establish themselves in the American Whiskey market and create a healthy level of competition with other sizeable multinational spirit conglomerates. This excellent partnership between Sagamore and Illva allows each to grow into otherwise nonexistent areas and continue to build their brands and reputation.
With Illva moving its US headquarters to the Baltimore Peninsula and Sagamore continuing its efforts on growing their distillery, what this means to us as consumers are the continued production of Sagamore’s “Grain to Glass” Rye whiskey, the opportunity for barrel picks with partners such as our own members and other groups like “The Bourbon Thieves.”
What this means is a future opportunity to share a pour and make a toast to Sagamore and Illva.