The premium rye brand WhistlePig has announced a new partnership with BDT Capital Partners, a merchant bank that provides long-term, differentiated capital.
BDT invested through a structured equity investment that includes a significant minority common equity stake.
“We remain committed to crafting and aging the world’s finest and most enjoyable rye whiskeys and believe our partnership with BDT will allow us to further accelerate our growth and momentum in the fast-growing, ultra-premium American whiskey category,” says Jeff Kozak, WhistlePig’s CEO. “2018 was another stellar year for WhistlePig, with our revenues growing by more than 40%, more than twice the category, and our operating cash flow close to doubling, allowing us to further expand our distillery and build out our inventory of high quality and aging whiskey as well as expand our distribution.
“Also, BDT’s experience partnering with founders and entrepreneurs of some of the world’s most iconic brands, their long-term focus as well as their network of successful global business owners, will help us further accelerate our future growth potential,” he adds.
The partnership with BDT will provide WhistlePig the opportunity to offer liquidity to all shareholders, the company says, including Raj Bhakta, one of the original founders who left the business in 2017 and has now fully exited his remaining stake. The vast majority of other investor partners, several of whom have been with WhistlePig for more than 10 years, will remain investors in the company.
“WhistlePig is a dynamic company with a world-class brand, high-quality product and strong leadership team,” says Byron D. Trott, chairman and CEO of BDT Capital Partners. “We look forward to partnering with Jeff Kozak, Wilco Faessen, the board and their talented management team to help build upon the growth and innovation of this business and further expand the brand both in the U.S. and around the world.”
WhistlePig shared more somber news last December when it announced the passing of its master distiller, industry icon Dave Pickerell.