Official Flavored Whiskey Partner of UFC to Leverage Campari Group Route-to-Market Expertise and Resources in Global Expansion of Popular Banana Bourbon
Milan/London/Las Vegas, August 24, 2022 - Campari Group announced today the signing and simultaneous closing of an agreement with Catalyst Spirits to acquire an initial 15% interest in Howler Head Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with Natural Banana Flavor with a medium-term route to total ownership, and concomitantly to obtain exclusive global distribution rights.
Howler Head is the official flavored whiskey partner of UFC and has quickly become one of the fastest-growing whiskey brands in the United States. Howler Head 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,’ said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, Chief Executive Officer 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.’
‘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.,’ said Simon Hunt, Chief Executive Officer 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.’
‘UFC is a global entertainment brand reaching nearly 700 million fans each year,’ said Dana White, President of UFC. “I love nothing more that through this new partnership with Campari Group, every UFC fan worldwide will have the chance to experience what I think is one of the best whiskies ever created.’
Howler Head is the original banana-flavored super-premium Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It launched nationally in the U.S. in 2021, and in its first full year of operations, sold over 50,000 9L cases primary to the U.S. and Canada markets only, and generated overall net sales of USD6.7 million in accordance with local GAAP. Since the beginning of 2022, Howler Head has expanded its operations in the U.S. and Canada, entered into key international markets, including the U.K., and is on target for significant year-over-year growth.
Campari Group agreed to pay USD15 million in cash in the first stage of path to total ownership, for a 15% interest in the brand. 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 real, carefully crafted Bourbon made at Green River Distilling Co. with a proprietary yeast, the finest grains and mineral-rich water filtered through Kentucky limestone. The whiskey is distilled in a legendary 100-year-old Vendome all-copper column still. The resulting Bourbon is then aged for two years in American white oak barrels with a #4 “alligator” char in traditional wood rick houses. Following the aging, the fine Bourbon is then blended with natural banana flavor. Howler Head is 80 proof and retails in the U.S. for $29.99 SRP for a 750ml.
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.
Media images of Howler Head can be found HERE.