The massive Paris-based Pernod Ricard spirits group (probably best-known for its portfolio brands like Absolut, Chivas Regal, and Jameson Irish Whiskey, in addition to its French spirits) has acquired a raft of distinctly American spirits makers of late, bringing some of the U.S.’s top artisan spirits into the company’s fold.
Castle Brands’ flagship Jefferson’s Bourbon, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is among the new acquisitions. Founded by father-and-son team Trey and Chet Zoeller, this craft bourbon is named for Thomas Jefferson, and the distillers have taken the historic icon’s love of experimentation to heart.
TX Whiskey, produced in Ft. Worth, Texas, by Firestone & Robertson, joins the family as well, adding a very unique regional blended American whiskey to mix. Blends are quite common in Scottish, Irish and Canadian whiskies, but TX is a rarer bird: smooth on the palate, and perfect neat or in whiskey-based cocktails.
Another super-premium Kentucky bourbon maker joins the Pernod Ricard portfolio in Rabbit Hole, which also produces a 100% rye whiskey. The Heigold bourbon version of Rabbit Hole, which incorporates German rye into its corn blend, and its Cavehill version, a traditional Kentucky four-grain mix, are among the distiller’s top offerings.
American vodka maker Smithworks, with its unique multi-region blend of corn grain from the Midwest and Oklahoma and an Arkansas water source, brings a new, compelling artisan clear spirit to the group.
And tapping into Appalachia’s bootlegging heritage, West Virginia-based Smooth Ambler now enjoys majority ownership by the global spirits group. The distillery’s bourbon-style whiskies use the region’s mountain clear water sources to deliver a bold, balanced flavor.