By Andy Young
Brown-Forman has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase the BenRiach Distillery Company, in a deal worth around AU$546 million.
When completed the acquisition will see the BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh brands join the Brown-Forman portfolio.
Brown-Forman’s CEO Paul Varga said: “The acquisition of these super premium brands will allow Brown-Forman to re-enter one of our industry’s most exciting and consistent growth segments, single malt Scotch whisky.
“The GlenDronach, BenRiach and Glenglassaugh single malt brands are rich in history and we believe they will continue to prosper and grow in our hands.”
As well as the three brands the purchase includes all the relevant trademarks, three malt distilleries, a bottling plant and the company’s headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland. The BenRiach Distillery Company has a workforce of 165 employees and it will operate as a subsidiary of Brown-Forman.
Billy Walker, the managing director of the BenRiach Distillery Company, added: “We feel immensely privileged to have been custodians of this business for the last 12 years, and to be associated with these wonderful brands and great distilleries.
“Our team has energised these distilleries and engaged creatively and successfully with the premium end of the market. We are very confident that Brown-Forman will take the GlenDronach, BenRiach and Glenglassaugh brands to the next level and fulfil their full potential, and prove to be worthy custodians of these historic brands.”
The deal signifies Brown-Forman’s first move into Scotch whisky since it sold its minority shareholding in Glenmorangie to Moët Hennessy in 2005.
The transaction is expected to close “on or about 1 June 2016” and the managing director of Brown-Forman for Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, Michael McShane, told TheShout that although the company would investigate opportunities for the brands in Australia it was too early to comment as the deal is not yet closed.
Last year, TheShout spoke to Douglas Cook, regional sales manager for the BenRiach Distillery Company in Australia, who said that the GlenDronach brand in particular was performing well in this country.
TheShout has also contacted the current distributor of the brands in Australia, island2island, for comment.