San Diego-Based Skrewball Whiskey Sells Majority Stake In Company To French Spirits Behemoth Pernod Ricard

March 21, 2023

French spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard has acquired a majority stake in Skrewball, a peanut butter flavored American whiskey company launched in San Diego's Ocean Beach by the founder of OB Noodle House, Bar 1502, and The Holding Company.

In 2018, Cambodian-born Steven Yeng and his chemist wife Brittany took what was once just a popular, signature shot at his OB Noodle House restaurant and launched a spirit company named Skrewball. The 70-proof bottled version of his cult creation almost immediately won the prize for Best Flavored Whiskey at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition. Then the company was quickly mired in litigation, with multiple lawsuits coming from alleged co-founders, a bottling company, and even Major League Baseball former All-Star pitcher David Wells

"Skrewball has proven its uniqueness and success with a large audience, so we are delighted to have this brand as part of our portfolio," commented Pernod Ricard North America Chairman and CEO Ann Mukherjee. "With a product that brings an iconic American flavor to the spirits world, Steven and Brittany have found a true point of difference in the category. We are looking forward to unlocking the magic of this brand and a successful journey ahead."

Skrewball will join the likes of Jameson, Chivas Regal, Beefeater, Havana Club, Kahlúa, and Absolut under French spirits company Pernod Ricard's portfolio of brands. Last year, Pernod launched Jameson Orange into the flavored whiskey category, so it's acquisition of a majority of Skrewball comes as no surprise. The acquisition price for the majority stake was not disclosed by either company.  

"It’s overwhelming to see how far we've come with a 'screwball' idea and a dream," said Steven and Brittany Yeng. "We are very excited to see what the future holds for this brand under Pernod Ricard. The engine behind the company - its strategy, global reach and brand building expertise - will greatly support in taking the brand to new heights and we are excited to see it soar."

Steven Yeng's family story is a true American Dream come true. Born in Cambodia to Chinese parents, the family was forced to become refugees for 5 years in Thailand during the brutal Khmer Rouge Communist regime and its "Killing Fields." As a baby, Steven contracted polio but eventually mostly recovered although he continues to walk with a limp. After an Ocean Beach family anonymously sponsored the Yeng families migration to San Diego in 1991, his parents began working at O.B. Donuts, which they were eventually able to purchase and rescue from bankruptcy. Ocean Beach is where Yeng was first introduced to peanut butter, or as he calls it, "the taste of freedom."
Steve & Brittany Yeng have been together since high school. 
In 2008, Steven and his brother, Kyle, opened the original O.B. Noodle House. Although "The Noodle House" was mostly an immediate success, the constant lines started forming out-the-door after the restaurant was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in August 2013. In May 2014, Yeng opened the second OB Noodle House & Bar 1502 at 4993 Niagara Street in Ocean Beach. In mid-2016, Yeng continued his Ocean Beach takeover when he leased the space that previously housed Gallagher's and opened The Holding Company, a bar, restaurant and music venue. Based on the popularity of his peanut butter Jameson shot served at his bars, Steve and Brittany Yeng decided to manufacture a retail version and rolled out the first Skrewball bottles for purchase in July 2018.

For more information about Skrewball Whiskey, including drink recipes and where to find it, visit