Business Strategies

Constellation Buys Majority of Craft Bourbon Maker

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

May 06, 2019

Constellation Brands Inc., which just a week ago bought a minority share of boutique mezcal producer (Mezcal El Silencio) today  announced it acquired a majority stake in Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, a small maker of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.

Nelson’s Green Brier, Nashville, Tenn., is a craft distillery, co-founded in 2014 by brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson, that produces Belle Meade Bourbon brand and is set to release a Tennessee whiskey later this year. Through Constellation’s venture capital group, an initial minority investment was made in Nelson’s Green Brier in 2016.

The Nelsons' great-great-great-grandfather Charles Nelson created the company in 1860, and Nelson’s Green Brier became one of the most successful distilleries in the U.S. until 1909, when Prohibition became law in Tennessee and the distillery was forced to close. The Nelson brothers use the original recipe Charles Nelson used.

Green Brier will continue to operate with its existing management team led by Andy and Charlie Nelson, and its employees running the day-to-day operations.

Constellation has been broadening its higher-end spirits portfolio lately with similar investments and acquisitions. The exact share of Constellation's ownership and other financial details were not disclosed.