STAMFORD, CT – October 15, 2019 – Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits is expanding its spirits portfolio with the addition of a super-premium American Gin. The company has entered into a 50/50 joint venture partnership on the Gray Whale Gin brand, with founders Jan and Marsh Mokhtari. The deal closed earlier this month.
Gin over $30 has been growing double digits for the past several years. Most recently, it grew +26% in 2018 and is nearly the same size as the American Rye Whiskey segment. 1 Gray Whale is currently available in California and Connecticut. The brand’s performance in California is strong, and Deutsch Family plans to launch it nationally in three waves, introducing Gray Whale to consumers in 17+ additional states over the next 12 months.
“As a family-owned company we are always looking to partner with other family brands that share our core values,” said Peter Deutsch, CEO, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “Gray Whale has it all: founders who are passionate about the brand; a compelling and authentic brand story, exceptional liquid and a standout package. Marsh and Jan have created an excellent brand foundation for Gray Whale, we look forward to building on that and introducing the brand to new consumers.”
“Building a scaled spirits portfolio of craft and super-premium brands is a high strategic imperative for us,” said Tom Steffanci, President, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “We believe there is significant opportunity to grow Gray Whale as we move to national distribution. Marsh and Jan have created a delicious product with highly differentiated positioning and packaging that consumers love and we are excited about partnering with them to scale it”.
The story of Gray Whale Gin began when founders Marsh Mokhtari and Jan Livingston-Mokhtari witnessed firsthand a Gray Whale and its calf on their 12,000-mile annual migration to the north. This incredible journey inspired the concept of a gin with botanicals sourced along the California coastline on that same migration path. These botanicals – juniper, limes, fir, kombu sea kelp, mint and almonds – create a unique and refreshing taste profile.
Gray Whale contributes 1% of annual sales to “1% for the Planet” supporting OCEANA, a nonprofit working to protect and restore the world’s oceans.
“We’ve always been humbled by California’s stunning beauty and this is what ultimately inspired us to craft a gin that celebrated and supported everything we love about the Golden State,” said Jan Livingston-Mokhtari. Marsh Mokhtari added, “We talked with a lot of companies and were immediately impressed by Deutsch Family, they have a drive for excellence, professionalism, good partnership, and integrity that is just at an elevated level. We felt an immediate chemistry with the team and we believe they have the experience and commercial expertise to help make Gray Whale one of the top Super Premium Gins in the world.”
The Mokhtaris will be active full-time partners in building the brand. Marsh is a TV host, producer and distiller. He has hosted various TV shows including Perilous Journeys on National Geographic and Extreme Chef on the Food Network. Jan is an award-winning creative director and has led brand building campaigns for some of the largest brands in the world at top global advertising agencies and movie studios.
Gray Whale has won numerous awards, including the prestigious WSWA Brand Battle Winner of 2018. It retails for $40. Current production is approximately 2,000 9L cases. www.graywhalegin.com.
About Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits
Initially called W.J. Deutsch & Sons Ltd., the company was founded in 1981 by Chairman Bill Deutsch to market quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. In 2009, it announced the expansion of the award-winning company to include a Spirits Portfolio. Today the company is renowned for its brand-building prowess and its ability to meet the needs of the modern consumer. Bill’s son Peter Deutsch is CEO; thus two generations of the Deutsch family work side by side in their continuous quest to build strong brands and relationships throughout the wine and spirits industry.
The portfolio includes award-winning wines from Australia: [ yellow tail ], [ yellow tail ] Bubbles, Peter Lehmann, Peter Lehmann Clancy’s; California: Bellacosa; Eppa SupraFruta Sangria, Girard Winery, Joseph Carr, Josh Cellars, Josh Cellars Reserve, Kunde Family Estate, Layer Cake; The Calling; France: Andre Lurton, Cave de Lugny, Fleurs de Prairie, Hob Nob Vineyards, Sauvion et Fils; Washington: Skyfall; Italy: Barone Fini, Villa Pozzi; New Zealand: The Crossings; Portugal: Quinta Do Vale Meao; Argentina: Clos de los Siete; Ruta 22; and award-winning spirits: Redemption Whiskey, Bib & Tucker Bourbon, Masterson’s Rye, Luksusowa Vodka and Gray Whale Gin. www.deutschfamily.com