Viridian Spirits LLC: The world's finest authentic absinthes


March 15, 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 recipe 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, multinational 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.”

Viridian Spirits was advised by Houlihan Lokey and represented by Nixon Peabody in the transaction.

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