Friday, December 9, 2016

French giant gobbles up West Virginia craft distiller

Standalone American distillers obviously are in the crosshairs of mega-corporations' mergers-and-acquisitions staff.

On December 1, Rémy Cointreau -- known for its cognacs and brandies as well as such other spirits as Cointreau, Metaxa, Mount Gay rum, and Bruichladdich Scotch Whisky -- announced the acquisition of the Seattle distiller Westland.

Now, Pernod Ricard, maker of such familiar spirits as Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey, has announced the purchase of a majority stake in an award-winning West Virginia craft whiskey distiller.

The French alcoholic beverage giant, No. 2 worldwide behind only Diageo, on Thursday announced that a subsidiary has invested in Smooth Ambler Spirits Company, maker of such brands as Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon and Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon, as well as a variety of gins, vodkas, and rums. The deal is expected to close early in 2017.

“This investment illustrates perfect our strategy of partnering with rising entrepreneurs,” Pernod Ricard CEO Alexandre Ricard said in a prepared statement. “It represents a strong opportunity to enter the fast-growing, high-end bourbon market.”

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