CHICAGO — Molson Coors Beverage Company has made its first acquisition in the spirits category, adding Blue Run Spirits to its roster of whiskey and bourbon brands, representing another step in Molson Coors’ evolution as a total beverage company.
Founded in 2020 in Georgetown, Kentucky, Blue Run has won numerous industry awards and has already become a darling of the spirits industry for the intense interest around its new releases. It is currently sold at retail or on-premise accounts in 31 states.
Blue Run’s accolades include Best Small Batch Bourbon - 11 Years Old & Older and Best Single Barrel Bourbon - 11 Years Old & Older at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Best High Rye Bourbon at the 2023 New Orleans Spirits Competition. The company previously announced plans to build its own distillery in Kentucky, and those plans will continue under Molson Coors.
Since expanding beyond beer in 2020 – and adding spirits to its repertoire with the launch of Five Trail blended American whiskey in 2021 – Molson Coors has continued to seek ways to premiumize its portfolio. With the addition of Blue Run, Molson Coors has established Coors Spirits Co., which now houses Blue Run, Five Trail, Barmen 1873 Bourbon and future innovations.
“Molson Coors has been on a journey to broaden beyond our beer roots and build powerful brands in growing categories, and Blue Run joining us is an exciting next step as we establish Coors Spirits Co.,” said Molson Coors Chief Commercial Officer Michelle St. Jacques. “Blue Run has accomplished in three years what many brands hope to do in a generation and has done it at the luxury end of the whiskey category. Importantly, we are committed to maintaining Blue Run’s well-known quality, design and innovation as we continue to grow our spirits portfolio.”
With a lineup of rye whiskies and bourbon that retails between $100 and $250, Blue Run benefits from the expertise of its contract master distiller Jim Rutledge, a member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame, and Shaylyn Gammon, creator of 2021’s American Whiskey of the Year, who is the distillery’s whiskey director.
Blue Run’s founders – Mike Montgomery, Tim Sparapani, Jesse McKnight and Andy Brown – will remain with the brand, while Montgomery takes on an expanded role as vice president of Coors Spirits Co. Rutledge will continue to serve as Blue Run’s distillery consultant and liquid advisor, while Gammon will serve as Coors Spirits Co.’s whiskey curator. David Coors will continue to lead Molson Coors full-strength spirits strategy and business development as executive chair of Coors Spirits Co.
“Since launching Blue Run, we have always strived to do things a little differently to truly embrace today’s younger, more diverse generation of whiskey drinkers,” Montgomery said. “We are humbled by how the whiskey community has embraced our vision and that Molson Coors wants to join and support us in this journey.”
Named one of the 50 most innovative companies by a leading business publication, Blue Run has three new whiskies set for release this summer and fall.