Corby Spirit and Wine to buy 90% of Ace Beverage for $148.5M

Corby Spirit and Wine has signed an agreement to buy a 90 per cent stake of Ace Beverage Group for $148.5 million.

The deal announced Tuesday values Ace, Toronto-based maker of Cottage Springs and Ace Hill alcoholic beverages, at $165 million.

The proposed deal will see the remaining 10 per cent stake in the company held by its co-founders.  

“We’ve known Corby for a while and have tremendous respect for their legacy in Canadian beverages,” Ace Beverage co-founder Cam McDonald told BNN Bloomberg.

“Corby’s perfect because they have a long history in Canada. They’ve been a leading spirits manufacturer since 1859.”

Corby has options to complete ownership in 2025 and 2028. Overall, the deal is expected to raise Corby’s operating revenue by 35 per cent.

"The Ace team has built an inspiring business, through a culture of execution excellence, consumer centricity and passionate people,” Corby president and CEO Nicolas Krantz said in a news release.

“We look forward to welcoming them to Corby and are excited about the benefits this acquisition will create for our consumers, customers, and shareholders."

Ace Beverage Group is Canada’s fastest growing ready-to-drink brand and adds “significant scale” to Corby’s footprint in the space, the Canadian companies said.

McDonald said the ready-to-drink industry struggled last year as consumers went back to bars and restaurants coming out of the pandemic, but are now back to double-digit growth this year.

“Consumers want convenience,” he said. “I think one thing with COVID is a lot of consumers hadn’t tried cocktails or vodka sodas in a can and tried them during COVID and became part of their repertoire.”

McDonald added that Ace only operates in Canada – primarily in Ontario – and doesn’t have any near-term plans for international expansion, but the deal with Corby opens the door if they choose to pursue that route.