Utah’s High West Distillery acquired in $160 million deal

By Kathy Stephenson

Utah’s High West Distillery, which became the state’s first modern-day spirit maker eight years ago, is being bought for $160 million by one of the largest alcohol beverage companies in the country.

The acquisition by Constellation Brands, announced Wednesday, is expected to close by the end of October and includes High West’s distilling operations in Salt Lake City, Park City and Wanship, as well as its portfolio of high-end American whiskeys, including American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye!, Rendezvous Rye and Campfire.

All of High West’s 200 employees will be retained as part of the sale, John Esposito, High West’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview from New York, where Constellation is headquartered.

Founder David Perkins will serve as a brand ambassador and will continue to work with head distiller Brendan Coyle on new products.

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Originally published on The Salt Lake Tribune.

2016-10-06T09:30:45-06:00 October 6th, 2016|

About the Author:

The Wayne Brown Institute was founded by the late Dr. Wayne Brown in 1983. Dr. Brown held positions in mechanical engineering and served as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. In addition to his academic postings, he was a founder of Kenway Engineering (HK Systems), TerraTek, NPI (Agridyne Technologies), the Utah Innovation Center (the world’s first venture accelerator/incubator) and Utah Ventures (now Pelion Partners, Utah’s first and largest venture fund). By virtue of his academic, government, and business background, Dr. Brown was a leading authority in technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Many of the world’s science/research parks, innovation centers, and incubators have their roots with Dr. Brown. In addition to his many accomplishments, he has affected the role of government in innovation and entrepreneurship as the architect with Roland Tibbitts of the national Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Later, as head of the State’s Science Council he spearheaded legislation to create the Utah Technology Finance Corporation (UTFC, now Innoventures), and Utah’s Centers of Excellence program. He successfully negotiated with the U. S. government to obtain military land for the establishment of the University of Utah’s Research Park, and key in the establishment of the USU Research Park and Timpanogos technology Park in Orem (Novell campus). His knowledge, experience and passion live on in the Wayne Brown Institute, its staff, its investor-led Board, and its countless supporters.