"The Gretsch Drums factory in Ridgeland will be taken over by GEWA Music USA”: GEWA Music acquires global license from DW to develop, manufacture and distribute Gretsch Drums

Gretsch drums logo
(Image credit: Gretsch)

International musical instrument distributor and manufacturer, GEWA Music has announced that it has acquired the license to manufacture Gretsch Drums.

In an agreement reached between GEWA, current manufacturing, marketing and distribution license holder, DW (Drum Workshop) and Gretsch brand-owner Fred Gretsch, GEWA will now be responsible for the production of the legendary brand, which celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2023.

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(Image credit: Gretsch)

In an official statement, GEWA’s Hans-Peter Messner said, GEWA music and the Gretsch family are eagerly anticipating a successful future and are excited about the joint opportunities arising from this significant collaboration. 

“GEWA music will continue to maintain all international distributions of Gretsch Drums for the foreseeable future. The Gretsch Drums factory in Ridgeland (SC), previously managed by DW, will be taken over by GEWA music USA. From there, instruments manufactured in the USA will be directly supplied to North American retailers or shipped to foreign distributors. Hal Leonard will continue to act as the USA distribution partner for Gretsch popular priced drums produced by GEWA music in Asia.”

Fred Gretsch, “We are pleased to announce that effective January 16, 2024, all worldwide marketing, manufacturing, and distribution of Gretsch Drums will be managed by GEWA music. Dinah and I first visited the GEWA music headquarters in Germany in early 2016. 

“As the new distributor for Gretsch Drums in Europe, we were enthusiastic to view their operations in person. In the years since, they have grown the Gretsch Drums business in Europe by an order of magnitude. This newly-signed worldwide agreement will surely allow them to do the same around the world. Congratulations to the GEWA music worldwide team from the Gretsch Family.”

DW secured the rights to manufacture Gretsch drums in 2015, following the brand’s departure from the Fender-owned Kaman Music subsidiary. Since acquiring the license, DW has helped maintain and propel Gretsch’s reputation amongst drummers. It was announced in 2022 that Drum Workshop itself — including its subsidiaries PDP, LP Percussion and the Gretsch Drums license had been acquired by the Roland Corporation.

CEO Chris Lombardi says of the latest development, We are very proud of the work we have done to grow the Gretsch Drums brand since we acquired the Gretsch license in 2015. GEWA Music has been successfully distributing Gretsch Drums in Europe for many years and will be an ideal partner for the Gretsch family to take over the exclusive manufacturing, distribution, and marketing license globally.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.