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Durham Distillery proudly announces selection by Constellation Brands, Inc. for minority investment in its craft gin distillery co-founded by Melissa and Lee Katrincic in 2013.


“We set out to create a world-class gin brand – CONNIPTION Gin – and view this investment by Constellation as recognition that we have what it takes to lead in our category, and as the critical next step towards CONNIPTION Gins’ growth,” explained Melissa Katrincic, who, with her husband and partner, Lee, will continue to be the majority owners, executive team, operators, and decision makers.


Strategic investment from Constellation enables Durham Distillery to rapidly increase production, streamline efficiencies – especially as it relates to equipment, hire more employees locally under their Certified Living Wage designation, and ultimately, gain access to new markets across the United States. “With Constellation’s support, I’m now able to devote my full attention to the distillery’s strategic goals and to the CONNIPTION Gin brand and also, our burgeoning leadership in the premium ready-to-drink cocktail category,” explained Lee Katrincic, a careered pharmaceutical chemist, and Durham Distillery’s Head Distiller, who transitioned to full time at the distillery earlier this month


No doubt, an American gin renaissance is underway, with Durham Distillery and its CONNIPTION Gin serving as a fine example of the future of modern, super premium gin. Last year, global consumption of gin grew faster than any other beverage alcohol category and sales of gin were 8.3% higher over 2017. The worlds’ spirit makers are showing a focus on gin, including Pernot Ricard’s completed acquisition of Malfy gin in June 2019, as well as celebrities, such as Ryan Reynolds, who purchased Aviation Gin in 2018. “We have created a modern gin that upholds the international standards of gin, while also showcasing it as staple cocktail spirit for U.S. consumers,” co-founder Lee Katrincic. Melissa and Lee Katrincic continue to trail blaze for gin in the U.S., and are the only distillers in the American South to be inducted into The London-based Gin Guild.


Co-Founder Melissa Katrincic Chosen for “Focus on Female Founders” Program

As President and CEO, Melissa Katrincic is also the newest addition to Constellation’s “Focus on Female Founders” Program. In 2018, Constellation Brands, Inc introduced this initiative in support of their goal to “make meaningful investments in female-founded and female-led businesses doing disruptive and innovative work across beverage alcohol.”


Melissa Katrincic promotes female entrepreneurship, served as Vice President of the Distilling Association of North Carolina, lobbied for the industry to the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C. and spoke as an invited expert on gin for the American Distilling Institute. She is also a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and Women of the Vine & Spirits and is recognized as an authority on North Carolina spirits. As a physics graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Katrincic supports education for women, especially “STEM” education.