Brewer Molson Coors Adds to Spirits Division With Acquisition of Blue Run Spirits

Chicago-headquartered Molson Coors, a Canadian-U.S. publicly listed multinational drinks and brewing company with beer brands including Coors Light and Miller Lite, acquired Blue Run Spirits, a boutique whiskey producer based in Kentucky, United States, on August 8, 2023. The addition of Blue Run marks Molson Coors first spirits company acquisition. Blue Run joins the newly established Coors Spirits Co., an expansion of Molson Coors’ existing spirits business, whose two brands are Barmen 1873 Bourbon and Five Trail Whiskey.

Transaction Summary

Our Take on the Acquisition

Molson Coors (acquirer) acquired Blue Run Spirits (target) to expand its own spirits portfolio in the United States. Blue Run Spirits is a relatively new company and in March 2023 announced plans to build and open a 35,000 square-foot distillery and a 20,000 square-foot rick house, a warehouse for storing barrels of aging whiskey. Molson Coors may have acquired Blue Run for both its high-end brand and its distillery.

The Facts of the Acquisition

  • Target: Blue Run Spirits, based in Kentucky, produces rye and bourbon whiskeys. Founded in 2019, its products are available from retailers in 31 states; from bars, breweries, restaurants, and the like in every region; and online. Prices range from USD $100 to USD $250 a bottle.
  • Acquirer: Molson Coors is a publicly listed multinational beverages company. It is the world’s fifth-largest brewer by revenue and produces 125 brands of beer, including Coors Light, Miller Lite, Molson, Carling, Foster’s, and Peroni. Though known for beer, its portfolio includes cider, energy drinks, bottled spirits, ready-to-drink cocktails, and more. It entered the whiskey category in 2021 with its own brand Five Trail Whiskey.

The Transaction

Date:August 8, 2023
Purpose: To expand Molson Coors’ spirits portfolio
Acquirer’s Statement:Michelle St. Jacques, chief commercial officer at Molson Coors – “Molson Coors has been on a journey to broaden beyond our beer roots and build powerful brands in growing categories, and Blue Run joining us is an exciting next step as we establish Coors Spirits Co.. Blue Run has accomplished in three years what many brands hope to do in a generation and has done it at the luxury end of the whiskey category. Importantly, we are committed to maintaining Blue Run’s well-known quality, design, and innovation as we continue to grow our spirits portfolio.”

Target/Seller: Blue Run Spirits

Company Information

Target:Blue Run Spirits
Industry: Alcoholic Beverages – Distillery
Employees:19 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Locations:Head Office and Distillery: Georgetown, Kentucky, United States

Product Information 

Products:Bourbon – Barrel-aged American whiskey made from corn
Market Reach:Ireland
United Kingdom

Financial Information 

Revenue:Up to USD $5.0 million (Unconfirmed source: ZoomInfo)
Revenue per Employee:Up to USD $263,158 (i.e., USD $5.0 million / 19 employees = USD $263,158 – estimated based on the self-published number of employees and the revenue from ZoomInfo)

Did You Know?

Bourbon is synonymous with Kentucky because the state’s warm summers and cold winters are an ideal climate for the whiskey to age, or mature. Kentucky also has a lot of limestone, which filters out impurities in the water used to make the whiskey. This gives a smoother, more consistent flavor. So, most bourbon distilleries are in Kentucky, though there are others across the United States. There are 2,000 distilleries in the country.

Target/Seller Overview: Blue Run Spirits

Blue Run Spirits makes rye whiskey and limited-release (available for a limited time only), premium bourbon whiskey. Blue Run specializes in whiskeys that have subtle, enhanced flavors and a smooth finish, offering consumers a refreshing drinking experience. The company’s founders are a philanthropist, a political advisor, a Nike designer, a Facebook executive, and a hospitality executive. Inspired by the tennis shoe industry’s use of new releases, Blue Run says it is “sneakerizing the bourbon industry” – that is, applying the principle of creating hype around its products before each new release.

The company was founded in 2019 and is based in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Blue Run Spirits produces a variety of bourbon whiskeys in Kentucky, United States.

Buyer/Acquirer: Molson Coors Beverage Company

Company Information

Buyer:Molson Coors Beverage Company
Industry: Beverages
Type:Publicly listed company
Employees:16,600 (Source: Pitchbook)
Locations:Head Office: 250 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Regional Office #1: 1555 Rue Notre-Dame E., Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Regional Office #2: 33 Carlingview Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

United Kingdom
Regional Office #3: 137 High Street, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom

United States
Regional Office #4: 3939 W Highland Blvd, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Product Information 

Products:Ale – Beer brewed using a warm fermentation method, resulting in a sweet, full-bodied and fruity taste
Bourbon – Barrel-aged American whiskey made from corn
Beer – Traditional malt-flavored alcoholic drink made in small batches through yeast fermentation
IPA – Pale ale with the addition of hops (flower) and malt
Lager – Beer brewed at low temperature, which results in crisp, clean flavors
Pilsner – Bright, golden color, moderately bitter with a distinct aroma, brewed with malt and hops
Hard Seltzer – Seltzer, or carbonated water, mixed with alcohol and fruit flavoring
Spritzer – White wine mixed with carbonated or sparkling water
Whiskey – A spirit distilled from malted grain
Brands Include:Beers
Sol Cerveza

Bellini Spritz
Margarita Spritz
Mimosa Spritz
Sangria Spritz
Paloma Spritz


Energy Drinks

Barmen 1873 Bourbon
Five Trail Whiskey
Market Reach:Africa: South Africa
Asia: Bahrain, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, UAE, Vietnam
Australia: Australia
Europe: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
North America: Canada, United States
Central America: Honduras
Latin America: Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Cayman, Turks and Caico,
South America: Argentina, Belize, Chile, Columbia, Paraguay, Trinidad, Uruguay

Financial Information 

Market Cap:USD $14 billion
Revenue:USD $10.7 billion
Revenue per Employee:USD $644,578 (i.e., USD $10.7 billion / 16,600 employees = USD $644,578 – estimated based on the number of employees and revenue from Pitchbook)
EBITDA:USD $868.6 million
P/E Ratio:341
EV/EBITDA Ratio:20.2

Did You Know?

In 1964, the U.S. Congress designated bourbon whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States, meaning whiskey labeled bourbon must be made in the United States. The congressional resolution described bourbon as “a distinctive product of the United States that is unlike other types of alcoholic beverages, whether foreign or domestic.” It must be made from a fermented mash – cooked grains mixed with yeast – of at least 51% corn, aged in a new charred oak barrel, and bottled at 80 proof or higher. Proof takes the percent of alcohol by volume, or ABV, and doubles it. In other words, 40% ABV is 80 proof.

Buyer/Acquirer Overview: Molson Coors Beverage Company

Molson Coors is a Canadian-U.S. multinational drinks and brewing company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with main offices in Golden, Colorado, in the United States, and Montreal, Quebec in Canada. It was formed in 2005 through the merger of Molson of Canada and Coors of the United States. Publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange, it is the fifth-largest brewer in the world by revenue.

A Molson Coors’ brewery in Montreal, Canada.
Molson Coors has a variety of brands sold across the world.

Partial List Previous Acquisitions by Molson Coors Beverage Company

  • Molson Coors Si’hai Brewing Company (2023) – A China-based joint venture with Si’hai Group. Molson Coors bought a 51% controlling interest for USD $40 million
  • Atwater Brewery (2020) – A beer producer based in Michigan, United States
  • Hop Stuff Brewery (2019) – A independent brewery in London, United Kingdom
  • Aspall Cyder (2018) – A cider maker based in Suffolk, East Anglia, United Kingdom
  • Clearly Kombucha (2018) – A non-alcoholic beverage brand based in California, United States
  • MillerCoors (2016) – A beer brand based in Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Starbev Netherlands (2012) – An eastern European beer maker based in the Netherlands
  • Sharp’s Brewery (2011) – A brewery based in Cornwall, United Kingdom


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