Scotland's largest whisky firm to swallow Ryan Reynolds-backed gin brand

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo is to buy a gin brand co-owned by Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds as part of a deal worth up to $610 million (£466m).

The whisky and spirits giant Diageo has agreed to acquire Aviation American Gin, co-owned by actor Ryan Reynolds.

The spirits giant – Scotland’s biggest whisky producer – said it had agreed to acquire Aviation American Gin, which has been co-owned by the Deadpool actor since 2018.

It said it will acquire Aviation Gin and its majority owner Davos Brands, which owns three other spirit brands, for an initial payment of $335m, with up to $275m depending on the gin brand’s performance. Reynolds will retain a stake in the gin brand as part of the acquisition, it added.

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Aviation Gin reported 100 per cent growth in sales volumes in 2019 as demand for super-premium gin continues to surge in the US.

Diageo boss Ivan Menezes said the transaction supported the firm in the “super premium” gin segment in the US.

“We are delighted to announce this transaction, which supports our participation in the super premium gin segment in the United States,” the chief executive said.

“The acquisition of Aviation American Gin and the Davos Brands portfolio is in line with our strategy to acquire high-growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumisation.

“We are confident that Aviation American Gin will continue to shape and drive the growth of super premium gin in North America and we are looking forward to working with Ryan Reynolds and the Davos Brands team to accelerate future growth.”

Reynolds added: “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn't expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring.

“Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I've ever been involved with.”

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