Bacardi buys Ilegal Mezcal

Bacardi Limited has announced that it has completed the transaction of Ilegal Mezcal which makes it the sole owner of the super premium artisanal mezcal.

The transaction follows a successful relationship in which Bacardi partnered with Ilegal since 2015.

The super-premium plus mezcal category is growing at a fast pace and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16% over the next five years according to IWSR. Between now and 2027, the agave category – which includes both mezcal and tequila – is expected to be the sixth largest category globally, and it recently overtook American Whiskey to become the second largest category (by value) in the U.S. At 86% of global market share, the United States dominates the super-premium mezcal category. (Source: 2022 IWSR).

Bacardi says it believes that Ilegal “has the credentials to own and lead the super-premium mezcal category at a global level. Ilegal perfectly complements our portfolio and bringing it into our business sets the brand up for even greater growth as mezcal captivates more and more consumers.”

Ilegal also prides itself on being a responsible and sustainable business. They work with fourth-generation maestros mezcaleros in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico. Ilegal Mezcal is double distilled in small batches using 100% Espadin agave. Ilegal Mezcal is 100% natural and uses no artificial colors, yeasts, flavors, or additives. It is certified as artisanal mezcal by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM).

John Rexer created Ilegal in 2006, after years of working with small distillers in Oaxaca to make mezcal for his bar in Guatemala. He has worked closely with the distillers in Oaxaca to create sustainable jobs, and to be a positive force in protecting the environment and preserving local culture. Rexer will continue to guide the vision of the brand.

“We are excited about the next stage of the journey. Success for Ilegal goes beyond seeing more of our bottles on shelves; it’s about building our business the right way. We will always be committed to artisanal production, the Oaxacan community, and our core values. Being a part of Bacardi will bring Ilegal to a larger audience while maintaining our commitment to sustainability and growing the business responsibly,” says Rexer.