Italian Spirits Company Buys Majority Stake in Sagamore Spirit

| September 14, 2023 | 0 Comments

Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A., an Italian multinational company best known for liqueur Disaronno, has purchased a majority stake in Sagamore Spirit. The Sagamore Spirit distillery and campus in South Baltimore, in addition to an office across the street at the Rye Street Market building, will become the new headquarters for the American-based Disaronno International LLC.

Sagamore Spirit is a rye whiskey brand with a distillery. It was founded in 2013 by Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Ventures and Bill McDermond as a minority owner. The Sagamore Spirit distillery opened in the Baltimore Peninsula development in 2017. It has four buildings on the Patapsco River totaling 64,000 sq. ft. of production, office, and retail space.

Sagamore Spirit was part of the first phase of the Baltimore Peninsula development that just completed five new buildings in Chapter 1B of the development. Baltimore Peninsula is a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar development across 235 acres in the Port Covington neighborhood of South Baltimore.

Sagamore Spirit’s American rye whiskies have earned more than 200 awards internationally, including World’s Best Rye Whiskey in 2019 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It sources local grain and water from Maryland.

Disaronno International LLC is relocating from Somerset, New Jersey and bringing staff members to Baltimore in positions such as the marketing, finance, and the executive team. The company is leasing and building out a 6,500 to 7,000 sq. ft. office space at the Rye Street Market office building.

Production of Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A.’s brands including Disaronno, Tia Maria, Rabarbaro Zucca, and The Busker Irish Whiskey will continue to take place in Italy and Ireland. Disaronno International LLC will also keep a presence in New Jersey for back office and support functions.

Tour tastings at Sagamore Spirit will be exclusively for Sagamore Spirit products, but Illva spirits will lbe available at the campus’ Nineteen O’ Nine Rye Whiskey Bar. Robert Cullins, executive vice president of Disaronno International LLC, said mixologists will work on recipes for drinks such as a Godfather or Manhattan combining Sagamore Spirit and Disaronno.

Restaurant Rye Street Tavern will be returning to the complex in 2024 under the new ownership of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group. The spokesperson could not confirm if Illva spirits will be available at Rye Street Tavern.

“We are thrilled to announce this transaction, which supports our portfolio strategy to acquire high growth, attractive margin brands, and in this case, broaden our offering into the premium American whiskey segment,” said Aldino Marzorati, CEO of Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A., in a press release. “We have built a strong presence with Disaronno International LLC in the US market, and this opportunity allows us to strengthen our portfolio with a company and products that we fully believe in.”

“Growing Sagamore Spirit has been an incredibly rewarding experience with a team that has obsessed every detail across this holistically Maryland grain-to-glass whiskey business,” said Plank in a press release. ‘I want to thank Illva Saronno Holding for their team’s passion in understanding the specialness of our unique product and look forward to the outstanding horsepower they can add into its next chapter.”

Plank continued, “I’m also very excited that Illva Saronno Holding loves our Baltimore Peninsula location so much that they’ve decided to relocate their North American headquarters to Maryland. As a beacon of entrepreneurial power and potential, Baltimore Peninsula represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be a foundational partner in creating a brighter future for one of America’s best cities.”

“As we look to expand Sagamore Spirit to new markets, we believe that relocating our North American headquarters will allow us to maintain the strong Maryland-based connection and invest in the local community that has empowered this brand to thrive,” said Cullins in a press release.

With Disaronno International LLC currently located in the suburbs of New Jersey, Cullins said they are excited about the waterfront location of Sagamore Spirit and that “it will be nice to call a place home.”

This article has been updated 

Photos courtesy of Sagamore Spirit 

Kevin Plank photo from Declan May Imaging 

Photos courtesy of Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A.

Aldino Marzorati, CEO of Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A.

Robert Cullins, Executive Vice President of Disaronno International LLC.

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Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.