(11/27/16) Earlier this month, MGP announced that they acquired the George Remus whiskey brand from Queen City Whiskey LLC, Cincinnati. Terms of the cash transaction however, were not disclosed.
In 2013, Queen City Whiskey launched their George Remus Whiskey Brand. The brand was designed to raise the traditional line of whiskeys seen in the prohibition era, and using the face and story of George Remus, “The King of Bootleggers”, to help do so. QCW sourced their base spirits from MGP and created their new line featuring George Remus Bourbon Whiskey, George Remus Rye Whiskey and George Remus Limited Edition Rye Whiskey.
While it can be argued that the whiskeys sold are hardly prohibition style, the image certainly was a winning play. In today’s “whiskey story” market, the truth about a whiskey isn’t as important to a great deal of the buying public as its taste and story. And Queen City Whiskey is hardly alone in playing the “prohibition era” card. But they are proof that if you can marry a good story or image, with an equally good whiskey, you have a wining combination. The fact that MGP decided to purchase the line of whiskeys, to which they were the actual source for, says a lot.
George Remus was an immigrant, born in Berlin Germany, on November 14, 1874. He and his family had moved to Chicago by the time he was 5. Dubbed “The King of Bootleggers”, he led a colorful and sometimes violent life. It is also claimed that he was the inspiration for the character Jay Gatsby from the novel “The Great Gatsby”. To read more about him and his life, please visit an article published by Bourbon and Banter (here).
“While our core business will continue to be supplying other brand owners with premium distilled spirits, development of our own portfolio of brands is an important part of our long-term strategy,” said MGP President and CEO Gus Griffin. “The George Remus brand is very appealing due to the strength of the brand concept and the outstanding early stage development and marketing work done by the founders. We believe the brand is now at a state of evolution where we can add valuable resources to help it reach its full potential.”
J.B. Kropp, co-founder of Queen City Whiskey, stated, “We are very pleased to have a company with the legacy and reputation of MGP assume ownership of the George Remus brand. Based on the strong consumer interest in both the George Remus story and the whiskey, we believe the brand has tremendous potential. We are very proud of the work my partners and I have done developing and growing the brand to this point, and are excited to partner with MGP to drive its next stage of growth.”
Griffin further commented, “In essence, our acquisition of this brand is like George Remus and the George Remus brand coming home.”
George Remus whiskey is currently available for retail in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.