Italian Company Acquires Majority Shares in Sagamore Spirit


September 15, 2023

Sagamore Spirit Reserve Series 8-Year-Old Rye Whiskey

Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A., an Italian Multinational Company with a diversification of business and products, announced a majority stake purchase of shares of Baltimore-based Sagamore Spirit rye whiskey brand and distillery.

The deal supports the long-term growth of both companies and strengthens Illva Saronno Holding’s presence in the United States, which started with Disaronno International LLC in 2014. Illva Saronno Holding is most recognizably known for Disaronno, a leading Italian liqueur. The acquisition also creates the opportunity for Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A. to expand their whiskey portfolio beyond The Busker Irish Whiskey into American rye whiskey. 

Sagamore Spirit is a brand within Sagamore Ventures, the privately-held investment company that serves as the family office of Under Armour Executive Chairman and Brand Chief Kevin Plank. Founded by Plank in 2013 with Bill McDermond as minority owner, Sagamore Spirit’s American rye whiskies have earned more than 200 awards internationally, including World’s Best Rye Whiskey in 2019 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Sagamore Spirit prides itself on in-state partnerships, including local grain and water sourcing, state-of-the-art distilling, and aging – all in Maryland.

“We are thrilled to announce this transaction, which supports our portfolio strategy to acquire high growth, attractive margin brands, and in this case, broaden our offering into the premium American whiskey segment,” said Aldino Marzorati, CEO of Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A., in a news release “We have built a strong presence with Disaronno International LLC in the US market, and this opportunity allows us to strengthen our portfolio with a company and products that we fully believe in.”

“Growing Sagamore Spirit has been an incredibly rewarding experience with a team that has obsessed every detail across this holistically Maryland grain-to-glass whiskey business,” said Plank. “I want to thank Illva Saronno Holding for their team’s passion in understanding the specialness of our unique product and look forward to the outstanding horsepower they can add into its next chapter.”  

Plank continued, “I’m also very excited that Illva Saronno Holding loves our Baltimore Peninsula location so much that they’ve decided to relocate their North American headquarters to Maryland. As a beacon of entrepreneurial power and potential, Baltimore Peninsula represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be a foundational partner in creating a brighter future for one of America’s best cities.” 

“As we look to expand Sagamore Spirit to new markets, we believe that relocating our North American headquarters will allow us to maintain the strong Maryland-based connection and invest in the local community that has empowered this brand to thrive,” added Robert Cullins, Executive Vice President of Disaronno International LLC.

J.P. Morgan is serving as financial advisor and Reed Smith LLP is serving as legal counsel to Sagamore Spirit. Paul Hastings together with Bonelli Erede / BELEX (Milan) are serving as legal counsel and KPMG for financial due diligence services to Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A.

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