Glendalough Distillery investors to share €12m from stake sale

Mark Anthony Brands International buys remaining 60% of whiskey and gin maker

A group of local investors in the Glendalough Distillery in Co Wicklow are set to share in a windfall of about €12 million from the sale of the remaining 60 per cent of the whiskey and gin maker to Mark Anthony Brands International, a Canadian-owned alcoholic beverage group.

While financial details of the sale deal have not been revealed, industry sources said the deal values the Glendalough business at more than €20 million. This transaction gives Mark Anthony full control of the business, having acquired a 40 per cent stake in 2016.

The main beneficiaries of the sale will be Glendalough directors Barry Gallagher and Brian Fagan who own just under 20 per cent between them.

Former Irish rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll, who owns 2.72 per cent of the company, is in line to receive more than €326,000 for his stake in the Irish spirits group.


Premium brand

Founded in 2011, Glendalough produces whiskey and gin from a distillery in Newtownmountkennedy. It is the third-biggest premium gin brand in the country and recently signed a deal with Coca-Cola HBC Ireland to distribute its products.

Led by Davin Nugent, Mark Anthony Brands International was established in Dublin in 2014. It focuses on the development and distribution of major innovation projects including White Claw Hard Seltzer, an alcoholic sparkling water that was created here and is available in international markets.

It employs 15 staff in Dublin, with plans to double its headcount here next year. The Irish entity is part of the Mark Anthony family of companies based in Vancouver and founded by Anthony von Mandl.

Visitor centre

Glendalough is the first spirit acquisition for Mark Anthony, which plans to expand its distribution into more markets globally, notably North America, eastern Europe and Asia. It is also expected to consider the addition of a visitor centre at the Glendalough distillery.

Commenting to The Irish Times on the transaction, Mr Nugent said: “The Glendalough portfolio presents a truly differentiated offering in both Irish whiskey and gin, which uniquely positions the company for significant success, not only in Ireland and North America but in many other international markets.”

Glendalough’s staff includes distillers, sales and marketing and “foragers”, who source wild plants that are infused into the distilling process.

Mr Fagan welcomed the deal with Mark Anthony. “They have always shared our vision for Glendalough and supported our efforts to grow the business. We are excited to now become full members of the Mark Anthony family and look forward to building the brand together”.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times