BDT Capital takes minority stake in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey

BDT investment provides additional liquidity, growth opportunities

BDT Capital Partners has taken a significant minority common equity stake in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, according to a joint announcement from the companies. WhistlePig was founded in 2008. The investment by BDT Capital Partners allows WhistlePig’s current shareholders to have liquidity and one of the original founders, Raj Bhakta, has exited his stake through the deal. Bhakta retired in 2017.

Rye whiskey has gone through a revival and WhistlePig has been a market leader in the ultra-premium category, demonstrated by various awards, including winning the “Best in Show Whiskey” in 2017 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Wine Enthusiast gave the highest rating to a rye whiskey in 2010, when it bestowed a 96 rating on WhistlePig’s 10-Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey, and in 2016, WhistlePig’s 15-Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey earned a 97 rating.

“This partnership is another important step in WhistlePig’s transition from a startup to a leading craft distiller,” said Wilco Faessen, WhistlePig co-founder. “In addition to getting the right partner in BDT, we are very pleased and grateful that the hard work of many contributors over the last ten years has created tremendous value for our long-term investors.”

BDT Capital Partners takes equity stake in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey
BDT Capital Partners’ investment will accelerate WhistlePig’s growth and provide liquidity. Photo by WhistlePig.

Said Jeff Kozak, WhistlePig CEO, “2018 was another stellar year for WhistlePig, with our revenues growing by more than 40 percent, 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.”

WhistlePig retained Rothschild & Co and Skadden as financial advisor. Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor. BDT Capital Partners, LLC tapped Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as legal advisors to the firm.

Photo credit: WhistlePig

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