Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Lucid acquisition

Topline news about the sale/acquisition of Lucid, the first absinthe marketed in the USA since prohibition.

"Oregon-based Hood River Distillers has acquired Lucid Absinthe Supérieure from New York’s Viridian Spirits LLC for an undisclosed sum."

More news later as and when it emerges. At this stage, it is surprising to see no mention of this anywhere apart from on the well-respected Shanken News site.

No doubt absinthe connoisseurs will want to know what this means for the other brands sold by Viridian, i.e. Ted Breaux's Jades, as well as the people concerned. Viridian also helped launch La Clandestine in the USA in 2008, and although La Clandestine has subsequently moved to DC Craft Spirits, I am grateful for Viridian's early help.

Here are the press releases issued by the companies concerned:

Hood River Distillers, Inc. Acquires Lucid Absinthe Supérieure
Northwest’s largest importer of distilled spirits maintains expansion momentum, adds absinthe to
premium portfolio

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (March 15, 2013) – Continuing its national rise as an innovative leader in the spirits industry, Hood River Distillers, Inc. announced today its agreement with Viridian Spirits LLC to acquire Lucid Absinthe Supérieure. Lucid is the first genuine absinthe to be legally available in the United States in over 95 years. Launched in 2007, Lucid is an authentic absinthe crafted and distilled at the historical Combier Distillery, founded in 1834 in Saumur, France. Lucid is formulated by world renowned absinthe expert T.A. Breaux, and is distilled in strict accordance to traditional French methods.
“We are committed to offering a diverse portfolio of premium, quality spirits,” said Ronald Dodge, Hood River Distillers president and CEO. "All of our brands are rooted in history, heritage and authenticity, so the addition of Lucid to our brand roster is a natural fit. We look forward to its strong future in the U.S.”
Unlike many contemporary imitators, Lucid is naturally green in color and features a full measure of Grande Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium), green anise, sweet fennel, and other culinary herbs representative of
European traditions and historical absinthe. Each bottle of Lucid is carefully prepared by skilled craftsmen, using ancient copper absinthe alembics.
For more information about Hood River Distillers, Inc., visit or contact the sales and marketing office at 503.574.3693 or

About Lucid
Launched in 2007, Lucid Absinthe Supérieure (SRP $59.99/750ml) was the first genuine absinthe made with Grande Wormwood to be legally available in the United States since 1912. Lucid is distilled in strict accordance to traditional French methods, in the historic Combier distillery (Loire Valley, France), founded in 1834 and designed by Gustave Eiffel. Lucid is distilled entirely from spirits and European whole herbs and uses no artificial additives, oils, or dyes. Lucid is ideal in both traditional and modern absinthe drinking methods. Visit Lucid at

About Hood River Distillers
Founded in 1934 and headquartered in Hood River, Ore., Hood River Distillers is the Northwest’s largest and oldest importer, producer, bottler, and marketer of distilled spirits. Pendleton Whisky, 1910 Rye Whisky, Broker’s London Dry Gin, SinFire Cinnamon Whisky, Yazi Ginger Vodka, ULLR Nordic Libation, HRD Vodka, Lucid Absinthe Supérieure, and the complete line of Monarch distilled spirits are just a few of the company’s brands distributed across the country. Hood River Distillers is a member of the Century Council and promotes responsible drinking habits. For more information, visit


March 18, 2013 / New York:  Viridian Spirits, LLC today announced the sale of Lucid Absinthe Supérieure to Hood River Distillers, Inc. effective immediately.  Lucid Absinthe is the brand that ‘broke the ban’ after Viridian’s founders lobbied the U.S. government, making absinthe legal in the U.S. as of 2007.  Developed from 19th century absinthe recipes by T.A. Breaux and still hand-crafted in antique copper pot stills, Lucid is made from whole European herbs at the Gustave Eiffel-designed Combier distillery in France’s Loire Valley, without any artificial colors or flavors, making it -- by historical definition -- one of the most authentic absinthes available today.  Lucid is also the world’s best selling absinthe, sold in all 50 U.S. states and throughout the world.

Lucid’s combination of being first to market, the quality in the bottle, its eye-catching packaging which pays homage to Toulouse-Lautrec’s iconic “Le Chat Noir” painting, and dedicated, clever sales and marketing campaigns over the years earned Lucid its enviable position as the absinthe category leader.  This independent brand is a classic David vs. the Goliath brands that are part of much larger, multi-national companies.

Jared Gurfein, a corporate lawyer and co-founder of Viridian who spearheaded the effort to overturn the Federal ban says, “We are happy that Lucid is going to a great home with Hood River Distillers, and will always have the brand in our hearts.  We were very proud to make history and shape the spirits industry when we overturned the ban.”   Co-founder and industry veteran Jonathan Bonchick says, “To achieve what we achieved as an independent brand on a reasonably small investment is really impressive, and simply speaks to the quality of the product.”  Co-founder Eddie Soleymani says, “For Jared and myself, Lucid was our first foray into spirits.  We were fortunate to enter the industry with an historical accomplishment and a successful product – no small feat in the face of the worst recession in a generation.”   Jared and Jon are already working on their next project, which they intend to be “another groundbreaking achievement,” while Eddie is continuing his entrepreneurial career with several other startup ventures both within and outside of the spirits business.

Established in 1934 in Hood River, Oregon, Hood River Distillers began by making fruit wines and brandies from the apples, pears, and berries that were going to waste as excess production from the valley’s abundant harvests.  Located beside the Columbia River with majestic Mt. Hood as its backdrop, Hood River Distillers has been at its current bottling facility since 1968.  The largest and oldest importer, producer, bottler, and marketer of spirits in the northwest – a particularly strong market for absinthe – the company’s portfolio includes Pendleton Whisky, SinFire Cinnamon Whisky, and Broker’s London Dry Gin, among others.  “The groundbreaking advancements Lucid achieved in the U.S. is something we have admired and respected for some time now,” said Ronald Dodge, Hood River Distillers president and CEO. “We are proud to have the history that comes with this product included in our portfolio of premium, heritage brands, and we’re excited about its future.”
In closing, the typically understated Breaux says:  “I greatly enjoyed working with Viridian, and look forward to working with Hood River Distillers.”

1 comment:

Mark Arnest said...

Interesting - thanks for posting this.