|Folliard demonstrates his signature drink|
Just a year after veteran pub owner Kieran Folliard introduced his wildly successful 2 Gingers Whiskey to the free market, the premium spirit is now carried in more than 2,100 drinking establishments all over the state and the brand has sold nearly 20,000 cases of it product, making 2 Gingers the fastest-growing liquor brand in Minnesota.
But anything with this type of following doesn't stay contained to one market for very long. After an ambitious year of building his whiskey business full time (he formerly owned the Liffey, Cooper in St. Louis Park, Keiran's Irish Pub, and the Local, a bar with one of the top-selling whiskey accounts in the world), Folliard announced Friday that 2 Gingers has been acquired by Beam Inc., the massive spirits company based in Deerfield, Illinois.
Beam is best known for its ownership of huge national liquor brands like Knob Creek, Makers Mark, and Jim Beam, but 2 Gingers has actually been associated with Beam since its inception. Beam owns Cooley in Ireland (now called Kilbeggan Distillery), the facility where 2 Gingers is distilled.
So how will this change 2 Gingers' brand? As Folliard explains it, not too radically. His new position will mean more travel between America and Ireland, but he'll still be heading up U.S. operations of 2 Gingers from his original offices in northeast Minneapolis. But Folliard recognizes the pull Beam will have in terms of getting his product to a much wider audience. In an announcement he sent via email, Folliard wrote, "One of the best parts of the opportunity is the idea of merging with 250 years of Irish history. I consider it 'buying in' versus a 'buy out.' In order to reach national distribution, we will need resources that out-scale a small business, allowing for this growth in years rather than decades. Of note, we are happy to remain somewhat "local," as Kilbeggan is the only American-owned Irish Distillery."
In addition to representing and marketing 2 Gingers, Folliard will now also be responsible for helping to promote Beam's whiskeys as well as other whiskeys produced by Kilbeggan Distillery, including Connemara, Greenore, Tyrconnell, and their flagship brand, Kilbeggan.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by either company.