By James Atkinson

Beam Global this week completed the acquisition of Cooley Distillery, the award-winning Irish whiskey producer.

Announced in December last year, the acquisition includes the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands, as well as aging inventory and Cooley’s malt and grain distilleries in Dundalk and Kilbeggan, Ireland.

Cooley, which is currently distributed by Suntory in Australia, is one of only three sources for Irish whiskey and was the category's only remaining independent producer.

The purchase price was approximately $95 million on a debt-free basis. Beam expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral in 2012 reflecting substantial initial brand investment, with earnings improving in future years.

Cooley Distillery chairman John Teeling said Beam's timing was ideal to enter the Irish whiskey category.

"Beam has particular strengths in the main fast growing Irish whiskey markets and so will be well able to take advantage of this Irish renaissance," he said.

"Beam can do in 10 years what it would take Cooley, on its own, 30 years to do."

"It is a bittersweet moment for myself and the other founders as we cede control but, having rebuffed many suitors, we were happy that Beam, which is a pre-eminent whiskey company, will build on the strong foundations laid down over 24 years."

Beam Global Australia spokespersons said it was still too early to comment on the local implications of the deal.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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