Ron del Barrilito's New Investor: Gallo Expands Its Luxury Spirits Portfolio

Ron del Barrilito's New Investor: Gallo Expands Its Luxury Spirits Portfolio

E. & J. Gallo Winery, through its Spirit of Gallo division, has made a strategic investment in the historic Puerto Rican rum brand, Ron del Barrilito. This marks a significant return to the rum market for Gallo, following the acquisition of Venezuelan rum Diplomático by Brown-Forman in 2022. The exact terms and financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Ron del Barrilito: A Legacy of Excellence

Founded in 1880, Ron del Barrilito is celebrated as Puerto Rico's oldest rum brand. The brand was acquired in 2017 by Joaquin Bacardi and a group of local investors. Bacardi, a notable figure in the rum industry, has committed to maintaining the traditional formulas and processes passed down through generations of the Fernández family master blenders. The brand's visitor center in Puerto Rico attracts over 40,000 visitors annually, showcasing its deep-rooted heritage and cultural significance.

The Ron del Barrilito portfolio includes four expressions: Two Star, Three Star, Four Star, and Five Star. The flagship Three Star rum, priced at $39.99 per 750ml bottle, is a medium-bodied blend aged between six and ten years, known for its complex flavors of almonds, vanilla, raisins, bananas, and a smoky finish. The rum is produced through all-natural maceration and aged in Oloroso sherry white oak barrels, without added sugar, coloring, or artificial ingredients, solidifying its position in the Super Premium+ category.

Spirit of Gallo's Strategic Expansion

This investment aligns with Gallo's strategic focus on the super-premium and ultra-premium segments, which have driven the rum category's growth. Britt West, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Spirit of Gallo, highlighted Ron del Barrilito's strong heritage story, existing trade affinity, and robust quality statements as key factors for the investment. "To win in rum, we know it needs to be Super Premium+. Ron del Barrilito is a valuable addition to our portfolio, and we look forward to helping it reach its full potential in the U.S.," said West.

The addition of Ron del Barrilito complements Gallo's diversified spirits portfolio, which includes notable brands such as High Noon, New Amsterdam Vodka, E&J Brandy, RumChata, Camarena Tequila, RumHaven, Stratusphere Gin, The Dalmore Scotch Whisky, Tequila Komos, Don Fulano Tequila, Horse Soldier Bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, and Condesa Gin. This investment follows Gallo's recent entry into the super-premium gin category with Condesa Gin and the luxury tequila market with Tequila Komos.

A Growing Presence in the Spirits Market

Gallo's spirits division has grown to become the third-largest spirits supplier in the U.S. by volume, following Diageo and Sazerac. The company continues to expand its footprint in the spirits industry, leveraging its strong roots in the wine sector. The investment in Ron del Barrilito and the acquisition of U.S. import rights for Derrumbes mezcal underscore Gallo's commitment to diversifying its product offerings and capitalizing on emerging market trends.

Joaquin Bacardi, President of Ron del Barrilito, expressed excitement about the partnership with Gallo. "Gallo is founded on the same family values that Ron del Barrilito prides itself on. We are excited to work with such a dominant force in the spirits industry that has represented iconic brands for generations," Bacardi said. "As we enter this next chapter of our history together, we look forward to honoring both brands' rich heritages while continuing to create premium experiences for our consumers."

Future Prospects

With this strategic investment, Gallo aims to capitalize on the growth in the super-premium-plus rum category, leveraging Ron del Barrilito's unique flavor profile and cult following among mixologists. The company plans to expand the brand through product offerings and distribution, enhancing its presence in the U.S. on- and off-premise markets.

In conclusion, Gallo's return to the rum market with Ron del Barrilito signifies a strategic move to strengthen its position in the luxury spirits category. This investment, coupled with the company's diverse and expanding portfolio, positions Spirit of Gallo to continue its growth trajectory and meet the evolving demands of discerning consumers.