Ole Smoky, America’s largest craft distiller, has closed a merger with tequila producer Tanteo Spirits, according to a Tuesday press release.
“Ole Smoky continues to be one of the fastest growing spirits brands in the country,” Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky says in the release. “The addition of Tanteo to our portfolio further exemplifies the quality and reputation that we pride ourselves on, and we are excited to leverage our resources to introduce the Tanteo brand to even more consumers across the country.”
While Ole Smoky currently offers 25 distinct flavors of moonshine and 17 whiskey expressions, the merger marks the East Tennessee brand’s first foray into the rapidly accelerating agave spirits category. Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky is known as a leading producer of premium moonshine and prides itself on being the most-visited distillery in the world, welcoming over 5.3 million visitors in 2022 alone. Last year, the brand also enjoyed a 53.3 percent increase in dollar sales, outpacing its own category — American whiskey — 28 times over. In the same period, American whiskey grew just 1.9 percent.
Tanteo, which was launched to markets in 2009, distills its infused tequilas in Jalisco, Mexico with 100 percent Blue Weber agave and peppers. With four infused blanco expressions — spicy Jalapeño, extra-spicy Habanero, smoky Chipotle, and seasonal Navidad — in addition to a non-infused Blanco and Espero Blanco label, Tanteo sold over 70,000 cases of its tequila in 2022.
“Tanteo was created to perfect the Spicy Margarita through its artisanal infusion process, use of real peppers, and commitment to doing things the right way,” says Neil Grosscup, CEO of Tanteo. “We are thrilled to join the Ole Smoky team and look forward to taking the brand to new heights while maintaining the high standards that our loyal consumers expect.”
While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Grosscup did share that he and the management team at Tanteo will stay on with the company and work in collaboration with Ole Smoky’s team to build on each brand’s success.