Heritage Distilling Co. Announces Acquisition of Thinking Tree Spirits

Two leading Oregon craft spirits producers coming under one roof, with two production facilities for spirits and five retail tasting rooms

EUGENE, Ore., Feb. 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. ("HDC" or "Heritage"), a leading craft distiller of innovative premium brands, today announced the acquisition of Thinking Tree Spirits, Inc. (“Thinking Tree”), a craft distillery based in Eugene, Oregon. Upon the transaction closing, which is expected today, Heritage will own 100% of the Thinking Tree assets and brands. The combined entity will have two production facilities for spirits, one in Tumwater, Washington and the other in Eugene, Oregon, five retail tasting rooms, a combined online direct-to-consumer presence and growing wholesale distribution across the Pacific Northwest and a number of new states in the Midwest.

Heritage Distilling Company's CEO and co-founder, Justin Stiefel, said, “We were honored to be approached by the team at Thinking Tree last year to discuss this transaction. After careful consideration and a review of the synergies we could achieve together, it became apparent the combination of these two Eugene companies – Heritage Distilling and Thinking Tree - could continue to tell the story of Thinking Tree’s amazing products and brand that have been purposefully developed over the last decade in a bigger and more efficient way moving forward. Consumers in the Oregon market who have come to love Thinking Tree’s spirits, tasting room experience and energetic vibe will continue to experience that moving forward as we intend to honor the passion that has been poured into the making of the brand while we work to grow it.”

"Thinking Tree Spirits’ rebel yell has always been, ‘We endeavor to bring people together; let’s use spirits as a conduit to create the world we want to live in’,” said Emily Jensen, Thinking Tree co-founder. “Together with my co-founders, Bryan Jensen and Kaylon McAlister, we built Thinking Tree Spirits from the ground up starting in 2014 as an authentic Eugene brand, while trying to be a positive force in Oregon. While that journey has been rewarding, it became apparent to us and our shareholders, that if we wanted Thinking Tree to grow to its ultimate potential, we needed to add authentic craft scale in a way that has not yet been done in the craft spirits space. This meant finding a partner as focused on quality and purposeful spirits, and driving culture and connection amongst their communities as we have been; a partner who understood how Thinking Tree’s products should fit in a world of the growing craft spirits’ landscape. The exploding craft distilling movement has never been in a more exciting moment, and we know Heritage Distilling is the best partner to help enable our continued growth.”

“Congratulations to Thinking Tree Spirits on launching and growing a new company in a very competitive industry and now also poising the brand for future growth,” said John Friess, a Thinking Tree Director and the Co-Founder, Executive Director and Fund Co-Manager of Oregon-based “Starve Ups”, the world’s only end-to-end scalerator focused on Oregon startups and their founders since 2000. “Knowing when is the right time to pursue this type of transaction is hard; sorting through potential partners to find the right match is harder; actually getting to a deal that works for everyone, and getting that deal done, is something very few founders can navigate. The combination of Heritage and Thinking Tree is an excellent fit that will provide numerous opportunities for its loyal customers. Companies who are members of Starve Ups increase their chances of doing this type of transaction by 4X the national average, and this transaction between Heritage and Thinking Tree is further proof that our founder-based peer vetting and mentoring process yields result for founders, their customers and shareholders, while creating further potential to bolster Oregon’s economy.”

As part of its future plans for the combined entity, Heritage intends to move its tasting room activities, samplings, drinks service and its unique Cask Club program currently housed at 110 Madison in Eugene’s Whiteaker District, to the existing Thinking Tree building three blocks away. This will create a much larger combined and co-branded retail tasting room and event experience center. In addition, Thinking Tree’s production will move into, and be combined with, Heritage’s production at the 110 Madison location, helping to create more capabilities and scale to allow the Thinking Tree brands to grow more efficiently. Heritage will continue to produce and distribute its current Heritage brands as well. Thinking Tree’s tasting room and retail operations will remain intact while customer service, sampling and drinks of both Heritage’s and Thinking Tree’s products will be available with a tasting room expansion that will more than triple the current footprint. Both the facility move and tasting room expansion are expected to be completed by 2024 Memorial Day weekend. Several Thinking Tree employees will move under the parent company of Heritage as part of the transition.

“For nearly a decade Thinking Tree and Heritage Distilling have been neighbors, collaborators and community partners in Eugene’s Whiteaker District,” said Jennifer Stiefel, Co-Founder and President of Heritage Distilling. “We are fans of their passion for product quality, customer engagement and brand. When offered the chance to bring these two companies under one roof we readily and humbly accepted it, knowing what it means to take this leap. We are honored to be entrusted with the enormous task of meeting the public’s expectations for preserving the ethos of the Thinking Tree brand and we are committed to growing it in an authentic way.”

About Heritage Distilling Company, Inc.
Heritage Distilling Company, Inc.®, currently a subsidiary of Heritage Distilling Holding Company, Inc., was founded in 2011 by Justin and Jennifer Stiefel. Heritage is among the premier independent craft spirits distilleries in the United States offering a variety of whiskeys, vodkas, gins and rums produced mainly from local, sustainably sourced ingredients. Heritage is the most awarded craft distillery in North America by the American Distilling Institute for the past ten years out of more than 2,600 craft distilleries. To accelerate its national wholesale distribution growth strategy, Heritage founded the Tribal Beverage Network (TBN) to collaborate with Native American tribes and develop Heritage-branded distilleries, brands, and tasting rooms and to develop brands unique to the tribes, to serve patrons of tribal casinos and entertainment venues, creating compelling social and economic benefits for participating tribal communities while allowing the tribes another channel through which to exercise tribal sovereignty.

About Thinking Tree Spirits
Thinking Tree Spirits® was founded in Eugene, Oregon in 2014 by Emily Jensen, Bryan Jensen and Kaylon McAlister in the heart of Eugene’s Whiteaker district as an award-winning, women-led, farm-to-flask, Oregon grown house of brands. It quickly made a name for itself as a creator of beautifully packaged and great tasting craft spirits, winning Oregon Gin Distillery of the Year at the 2021 New York International Spirits Competition. Its leading products include Gifted Gin, Main Stage Vodka, Whiteaker Rum and Butterfly Lavender Pea Vodka, which was named “Vodka of the Year” for 2023 by Wine & Spirits Magazine. Its products can be found on the shelves of liquor stores and bars across Oregon and its spirits are shipped to consumers in 34 states. 


Scott Eckstein
(212) 896 1210

Anne Donohoe
(732) 620 0033