Chase Distillery has engaged advisers to explore its options, including a potential sale, The Grocer understands.
The Hereford-based brand is understood to have been working with investment bank Rothschild to lay the groundwork for an exit.
When approached by The Grocer, founder William Chase said a sale process was not currently ongoing.
Instead, he was focused on exploring funding options for his Willy’s gut health drinks brand, he said.
Latest financial results for Chase Distillery, filed at Companies House, show turnover of £16.9m from 1 August 2017 to 31 December 2018, with operating profits of £1.2m.
Chase rebranded its entire spirits range in 2018, playing up the drinks’ provenance.
It has two MDs: it hired Bacardi’s former travel retail boss, Andrew Carter, as joint MD in 2018, while fellow MD Adrian Jones has been at Chase since 2014 and is a former corporate financier.
“I would imagine [businesses] like Campari and Halewood would be interested,” a senior drinks source told The Grocer. “It is a nice brand with a growing international presence.”
William Chase came to prominence as the founder of Tyrrells crisps, which he sold to Langholm Capital for almost £40m in 2008.
“They built Tyrrells up, sold it, then took the money and built Chase. So perhaps they would sell that while they’ve got this soft drink thing bubbling up in the background,” said the source.
An international buyer would likely be interested, he said, “because all the production and branding is done and it has a nice story”.
“They would be able to roll it into markets using their global footprint faster than [Chase] could do themselves.”