Campari Group to Acquire Wilderness Trail Distillery for $600 Million


November 2, 2022

Wilderness Trail Distillery logo

The Campari Group has reached an agreement to purchase an initial 70% interest in Wilderness Trail Distillery, and in 2031 the remaining 30% interest of the distillery. The initial investment is $420 million based on the total distillery value of $600 million.

Wilderness Trail Distillery, located in Danville, Ky., was launched in 2012 as a premium craft distillery with a clear focus on making the highest quality bourbon and rye whiskey. Leveraging an advanced and versatile operational infrastructure, the founders launched in 2018 two premium proprietary Wilderness Trail expressions: Wilderness Trail Bourbon and Wilderness Trail Rye Whiskey. The portfolio now includes a high-end 6-year and 8-year bourbon line. 

The founders and current shareholders, Shane Baker and Dr. Pat Heist, are fermentation experts with more than 20 years’ experience in the production of whiskey, consistently recognized as pioneers in the engineering, research and development, fermentation and distilling activities.

The distillery’s proprietary infusion mashing process and sweet mash technique have a highly flexible output driven by the multiple mash bills and yeast strains, crafting bourbons and rye whiskeys with distinctive flavors.

“We are very excited to take a controlling interest in world-class Wilderness Trail Distillery,” Bob Kunze-Concewitz, Chief Executive Officer Campari Group, said in announcing the transaction. “By adding the fast-growing super premium Wilderness Trail brand, we further expand and premiumize our bourbon offering, priming it to become Campari Group’s second major leg after the aperitif portfolio.

“Moreover,” Cocewitz added, “we accelerate our premiumization journey, further enriching our rare portfolio, the division aimed to unlock and accelerate the growth potential of a select range of high-end individual expressions in our core premium spirits markets. … We are very excited to partner with such a strong team of industry pioneers and distilling experts allowing us to accelerate and significantly expand the innovation platform for our bourbon portfolio.”

“We are thrilled about our partnership with Campari Group,” Baker and Dr. Heist said in a joint statement. “Premium bourbon and rye whiskies and state-of-the art production facilities coupled with worldwide distribution, first class marketing and expertise across multiple spirit categories provide the perfect foundation for the continued success of the Wilderness Trail brand and ensure it will be enjoyed around the world for years to come. This is a win-win situation for both parties and we are very proud of this partnership and what we can achieve together with our shared vision.”

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close before the end of the 2022 calendar year. Until the transaction closes, each company will continue to operate independently.

For more information about Wilderness Trail, visit For more about The Campari Group, visit