Published in Food/Agribusiness
DeVos-backed spirits brand Jos. A. Magnus & Co. relocates from D.C. to West Michigan COURTESY PHOTO

DeVos-backed spirits brand Jos. A. Magnus & Co. relocates from D.C. to West Michigan

BY Tuesday, October 27, 2020 05:33pm

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — An award-winning spirits brand backed by the DeVos family is relocating to West Michigan from Washington, D.C.

Premium liquor brand Jos. A. Magnus & Co. LLC, known for its blended bourbons and dry gins, will operate and be produced at the Coppercraft Distillery LLC location in Holland Township effective Oct. 31, the company said in an announcement on Tuesday. 

Both companies share common ownership in the DeVos family’s Windquest Group, which acquired Coppercraft from its founders in 2016 and is part of the investor group behind Joseph Magnus.

Centralizing production at the West Michigan facility is aimed at achieving economies of scale and boosting production capacity to support both brands, said Magnus General Manager Ali Anderson. 

“The relocation of Magnus is the next logical step in the trajectory of a craft brand that has demonstrated exceptional growth in just 5 years,” Anderson said in an emailed statement to MiBiz, adding that “there are no plans to discontinue production” of either brands. 

“Both Magnus and Coppercraft are thriving, continuing to win industry awards and are expanding in popularity and distribution in their respective categories,” she said.  

The ownership structure for Magnus “has not changed” despite the relocation, Anderson said.

The move comes after Magnus secured a little more than $78,000 in investments from four investors toward a $3.5 million equity raise, according to a filing with federal securities regulators last month. The filing, which listed the Coppercraft location as its address, names Coppercraft and Magnus execs as the managers of the company. 

Anderson said the raise will go toward building inventory for Magnus to meet increased demand after it increased its national sales and distribution efforts last year. 

At the time, the company closed its D.C. cocktail bar to focus on building out its sales and distribution channels, in a move that included some layoffs of part-time and full-time employees, including its master distiller at the time, according to a report in Eater

Joseph Magnus spirits are now sold in 33 states and are aimed at the “top-shelf” premium market. For example, a 750 mL bottle of Joseph Magnus Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a minimum shelf price of $89.99 in Michigan, according to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission price book. 

The company said the relocation to Michigan also “reconnects the brand to the legacy of

its founder.” Joseph Magnus established the brand in 1892 in Cincinnati, Ohio and had a summer home in Oden, just east of Petoskey. He also donated the land for what would become Magnus State Park, which now has more than 1,000 feet of shoreline on Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey, and was active in local philanthropy.

A group of investors revived the Magnus brand in 2015 with production space and a cocktail bar on the northeast side of Washington, D.C.

The company said the move to Michigan will support the next phase of growth and serves to build off the “storied history of quality craftsmanship and industry” in West Michigan. 

Under the new arrangement, Magnus and Coppercraft will share “talent and production space,” according to a spokesperson. As well, Master Blender Nancy Fraley will continue to work closely with the Magnus brand on a spirits blending technique the founder developed in the pre-Prohibition era. 

The D.C. area partners in the company “will continue to remain involved with Magnus at a strategic level, but will not be relocating to Holland for day-to-day operations,” Anderson said.

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