Sammy Hagar Sells Out Completely to Campari!

Skyy Spirits is building on its recent growth spurt.

Skyy — the San Francisco-based North American base of operations for Italian parent Gruppo Campari — is looking to add at least six and staffers to its current roster of 92, including senior brand managers for its Wild Turkey bourbon and Cordials brands.

sammy hagar, cabo wabo tequilaIn June 2009, just after Campari made San Francisco its North American headquarters, Skyy had 62 staffers, most of them based in the city, with a small production facility in San Jose and a few workers in home offices.

Campari reported a 13.3 percent jump in U.S. sales for the six months ending June 30. In North and South America, where Campari generated 34 percent of total first-half revenue, sales skyrocketed 46 percent. Fifteen percent of that came from its acquisition of Wild Turkey and its Kentucky-based distillery in May 2009 from Pernod Ricard.

The company in late July signed a deal to acquire the remaining 20 percent minority stake in Cabo Wabo tequila it doesn’t already own from rock Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar. The price was $11 million (plus payment of $3 million over the next three years to the selling shareholder), said CEO Gerry Ruvo.

Skyy’s best-selling products include Skyy Vodka, Wild Turkey Bourbon, Skyy Infusions (vodkas infused with natural pineapple, ginger, citrus, passion fruit, grape, cherry and raspberry), Campari and Cabo Wabo Tequila.

In a statement, Ruvo attributed strong sales to the Wild Turkey acquisition, successful introductions of Infusions Ginger and Espolon Tequila and Skyy’s strength in off-premise sales, as opposed to sales in restaurants, where the recession’s impact has lingered. Comparisons to “relatively low” prior year numbers also helped, he said.

#tequilaville, justin timberlake, sauza, beam brandsSkyy’s original vodka, the No. 3 vodka brand nationally, fell behind rivals over last year, with sales slipping nearly 2 percent at retail outlets, while several competitors saw sales increase by about 5 percent, according to Chicago’s SymphonyIRI Group research firm. But its infused varieties saw significant growth.

Editor’s Note: For more information on rock stars and tequila, read our articles on Justin Timberlake and 901 Tequila.

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