Foley Family Wines [NZX: FFW], majority owned by American businessman and vineyard owner Bill Foley, has bought the Lighthouse Gin brand for an undisclosed amount.
Lighthouse is made by Greytown-based boutique distillery Greytown Fine Distillates, was founded in 2007 by Neil Catherall, who will act as a consultant to Foley Family Wines. The gin is exported to Australia and the UK and Marlborough-based Foley Family said it has inked a new distribution agreement in New Zealand with EuroVintage and intends to distribute in the US through Epic National.
The acquisition is the latest in the company's expansion plans, which include an all-scrip $1.9 million takeover offer for pinot noir pioneer Martinborough Vineyard Estates.
Foley Family Wines controls about 364 hectares of land in Marlborough and Wairarapa, and is betting the enlarged company's bigger scale will boost efficiency and improve profitability.
The wine maker also announced it has completed the 2014 grape harvest, crushing a total of 6,807 tonnes across its three Martinborough and Marlborough sites, up from last year's 5,699 tonnes.
"The volume crushed this year has resulted in all wineries being at full capacity, which will continue to have a positive influence on margin improvement," the company said in a statement. "Many wineries were greatly concerned with the impact of the prolonged rain late April, however Family Foley Wines managed to complete harvest on the day the weather began to deteriorate."
Shares in the NZX-listed company were unchanged at $1.51.
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