Diageo lands Aviation gin

Diageo has reached an agreement to buy Aviation, the gin part-owned by Canadian film actor Ryan Reynolds.

The deal also sees the Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka producer take control of New York-based Davos Brands – Aviation’s majority owner – and its portfolio which includes Astral tequila, Sombra mezcal and Tyku sake.

Reynolds will retain an ongoing ownership interest in the gin brand.

The acquisition is costing Diageo an initial US$335 million, and up to a further US$275 based on the performance of Aviation over the next 10 years. 

Aviation was founded by Christian Krogstad and Ryan Magarian in 2006 in Portland, Oregon, and is still made by the House Spirits Distillery in the city.

Davos bought the brand from House Spirits in 2016 and Reynolds took a stake in 2018.

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “The acquisition of Aviation American gin and the Davos Brands portfolio is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumisation.

“We are confident that Aviation will continue to shape and drive the growth of super-premium gin in North America and we are looking forward to working with Ryan Reynolds and the Davos Brands team to accelerate future growth.”

Ryan Reynolds added: “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit.  

“What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring.

“Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with.”

Diageo said IWSR figures put Aviation’s volume growth at over 100% in 2019, contributing 40% of super premium gin segment growth.

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