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Gaja Capital Backed John Distilleries Announces Strategic Investment by the Sazerac Company 

LOUISVILLE, KY (Oct. 19, 2017John Distilleries Private Limited (“JDPL” or “Company,”) a leading Indian spirits company, today announced that The Sazerac Company (“Sazerac,”) the largest family-owned spirits company in the United States and owners of Fireball, Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon and E.H. Taylor Bourbon, has acquired an equity stake in JDPL from Gaja Capital, who will continue to remain partially invested in the Company.

JDPL is a leading spirits company in India with gross revenues of over INR 28 billion in FY17. With sales of more than 13 million cases, JDPL’s portfolio includes Original Choice Whisky, the seventh largest selling whisky in the world, Bangalore Malt, the fastest growing millionaire brand in the world, Paul John Single Malt (PJSM), an award winning super premium whisky, and Big Banyan wines, one of India’s leading premium wine brands.

Sazerac is one of the largest spirits companies in the United States and the world with a product portfolio of more than 350 brands spanning all spirit categories. Sazerac’s E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was just named “World Whisky of the Year” for 2018 by the much revered Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. In the past 15 years, whiskeys from its iconic Buffalo Trace Distillery have won “World Whisky of the Year” no less than six times. This strategic partnership marks Sazerac’s entry into the Indian market, one of the largest and fastest growing markets for spirits in the world.

Paul John, JDPL’s Chairman and Managing Director, said, “Sazerac’s technological expertise coupled with a global portfolio of brands spread across all spirit categories, will be an added advantage for JDPL both in domestic and in global markets. We look forward to this partnership with Sazerac and in continuing to make our brands even stronger. We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Gaja Capital who will continue as shareholders. They have made important contributions to our success through their deep understanding of the Indian consumer, substantial operating value-add and an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Sazerac and JDPL are both family-owned companies and both have taken similar strategic paths, initially developing leading regional brands, followed by launching global premium brands. “We are extraordinarily excited to be able to establish this partnership in India, and look forward to working with Paul John and his team in supporting JDPL’s iconic brands,” said Mark Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Sazerac Company.

Ranjit Shah, Managing Partner at Gaja Capital, said, “Guided by Paul’s strategic vision, the Company has seen its scale and profitability grow rapidly in India and abroad on the strength of an increasing brand portfolio backed by a robust manufacturing back-end.  We welcome Sazerac to India and are excited about the significant value that this partnership can create in what is one the most attractive spirits markets in the world.”

Jefferies India acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Gaja Capital and Sazerac was advised by Rabobank.

About JDPL

Founded in 1996 by Paul John, JDPL has operations in 13 states/UTs in India and its brands are available through more than 15,000 outlets across the country and its super premium brand PJSM sells in over 30 countries around the world. For more information on John Distilleries Private Limited, please visit www.jdl.in & www.pauljohnwhisky.com 

About Sazerac

Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in the United States in Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland, California, and global operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and Canada. For more information on Sazerac, please visit www.sazerac.com. 

About Gaja Capital

Gaja Capital is one of India’s leading independent private equity firms providing growth capital to mid-market companies. Founded in 2004, Gaja Capital’s team of sector and functional specialists combine investing, entrepreneurial and operating experience to deliver tangible value beyond capital. For more information on Gaja Capital, please visit www.gajacapital.com