MGP Adds To Brand Stable With Acquisition of Penelope Bourbon

Mike Paladini and Danny Polise founded Penelope Bourbon in 2018.

MGP Adds To Brand Stable With Acquisition of Penelope Bourbon

May 9, 2023 –––––– David Fleming, , , ,

MGP Ingredients yesterday announced its acquisition of Penelope Bourbon, as the company continues to grow its presence on the branded whiskey stage and build out from its core contract distilling business. The deal, which was carried out through MGP subsidiary Luxco, will close in June. The price was $105 million upfront, with a potential earn-out of $110.8 million if certain sales goals are met by 2025.

Penelope was founded in 2018 by New Jersey natives Mike Paladini and Danny Polise, and is named after Paladini’s daughter. The company is based in Roselle, New Jersey, and sources its whiskey from MGP. When they started out, the two partners noticed a state law that allowed small brand owners to obtain wholesale liquor licenses. Since no major distributors were interested in Penelope at the time, Polise and Paladini took to the road, driving around the state and selling their whiskey to retailers (legally) from the trunk of their car. In September of 2019 they landed a distributor, and today the brand is present in 30 states. The founders are expected to stay on after the deal and continue to help guide the expansion.

A small player in a sea of new start-up bourbons, Penelope has done surprisingly well among whiskey lovers, mainly thanks to its use of cask finishing. It has released whiskeys finished in Vino de Naranja, rosé casks, Grenache casks, and Tokaji casks, among others, as well as a series of barrel-strength whiskeys. Penelope’s Tokaji-finished rye and toasted barrel strength (Batch 22-01) both received 91 points from Whisky Advocate’s tasting panel.

Penelope now joins a stable that includes such whiskeys as Ezra Brooks, Blood Oath, Daviess County, Lux Row and Rebel, Yellowstone, Minor Case, George Remus, Rossville Union, and Eight & Sand. (Yellowstone and Minor Case are made by Limestone Branch Distillery, in which MGP/Luxco has a 50% stake.) In all, it’s shaping up to be a reputable portfolio as MGP’s branded strategy moves forward.

Image Credit: