GATLINBURG, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Ole Smoky Distillery, one of the nation’s fastest growing spirits companies and home of the most visited distillery in the world, announces they have closed upon a merger agreement with Tanteo Spirits, LLC, one of the fastest growing ultra-premium tequila companies. This transaction marks the Tennessee-based distillery’s entry into the fast-growing tequila market, as it moves to diversify its portfolio across other high-growth spirits categories.
Founded in 2007, Tanteo’s namesake brand is renowned as the original spicy tequila made with real-pepper infusions. Distilled in partnership with the cooperatively owned Distilladora Juanacatlan, in 2022, the company sold over 70,000 cases driven by consumer demand for versatile, ultra-premium tequila and its unique, high-quality infused products.
Inspired by the spicy margarita, Tanteo manufactures four distinct infused tequilas – spicy Jalapeño, extra-spicy Habanero, smoky Chipotle, and seasonal Navidad, alongside its ultra-premium Blanco offering and the premium Espero brand. Most recently, Tanteo received several recognitions from the ASCOT Awards, including a Double Platinum Award, 2023 White Spirit of the Year, and Best Tequila for Tanteo Blanco and a Gold Award for Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila.
Tanteo CEO Neil Grosscup and management will remain with the company, collaborating closely with the Ole Smoky team to further build on the brand’s success. Through this merger, the combined company will leverage Ole Smoky’s infrastructure and its sales and distribution network to significantly accelerate Tanteo’s growth.
“Tanteo was created to perfect the spicy margarita through its artisanal infusion process, use of real peppers, and commitment to doing things the right way,” says Neil Grosscup, CEO of Tanteo. “We are thrilled to join the Ole Smoky team and look forward to taking the brand to new heights while maintaining the high standards that our loyal consumers expect.”
“Ole Smoky continues to be one of the fastest growing spirits brands in the country,” says Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky. “The addition of Tanteo to our portfolio further exemplifies the quality and reputation that we pride ourselves on, and we are excited to leverage our resources to introduce the Tanteo brand to even more consumers across the country.”
Ole Smoky, which is a portfolio company of funds advised by Apax, is the largest craft distiller in the U.S. and home of the most visited distilleries in the world – welcoming over 5.3 million visitors last year alone. In addition to receiving that accolade, the brand experienced tremendous growth in 2022. According to Nielsen sales data from 2022, Ole Smoky brand dollar sales were up 53.3% vs. the prior year, significantly outpacing the American Whiskey category, which grew 1.9%. over the same period.
Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel for Ole Smoky. Deutsche Bank functioned as financial advisor, and Giannuzzi Lewendon LLP functioned as legal counsel for Tanteo Spirits. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
To learn more about Ole Smoky, visit www.olesmoky.com and follow the brand on social media @olesmoky. To learn more about Tanteo, visit www.tanteotequila.com and follow the brand on social media @tanteotequila.
About Tanteo® Tequila
Tanteo® Tequila is the original 100% agave spicy tequila, crafted to make the perfect Spicy and classic Margaritas. With a higher proof blanco, spicy Jalapeño, smoky Chipotle, and extra spicy Habanero expressions, Tanteo is distilled, infused, and bottled by hand in the hills of Jalisco, Mexico. The result is an award-winning artisanal product that is anything but ordinary. Tanteo was launched in January 2009 by Tanteo Spirits Company in New York City and is available in bars, restaurants, and spirits shops across the United States. www.TanteoTequila.com
About Ole Smoky® Distillery LLC
Ole Smoky is the leading distiller of premium moonshine in the world, the leading craft distiller in the U.S. and the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky's roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains' earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine with enduring pride and Appalachian spirit. Ole Smoky has been recognized on the Inc. 5000 List of the fastest growing private companies in America for three consecutive years – 2020, 2021, and 2022, as well as receiving the 2022 Shanken Communications’ Impact Hot Brand Award and 2023 Growth Brand Awards from Beverage Information Group. Today, Ole Smoky’s 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors can be found in all 50 states, 20 countries and at the company's four famed distilleries in Tennessee: The Holler and The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg, The Barn in Pigeon Forge, and 6th & Peabody in Nashville. For more information, please visit olesmoky.com and follow Ole Smoky on social media @olesmoky.