US drinks giant to buy distillery firm for £265m

BenRiach DistilleryUS spirits and wine giant, the Brown-Forman Corporation is to buy a Scottish whisky distillery firm in a £285m deal.

The purchase of the whisky distiller BenRiach Distillery Company includes brand trademarks, three malt distilleries, a bottling plant and the company’s Edinburgh HQ.

The deal adds three brands to the US firm’s whisky portfolio - The GlenDronach Distillery, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire, BenRiach, near Elgin, Moray, and Glenglassaugh Distillery on the Moray coast at Portsoy.

Brown-Forman said it expected to complete the purchase in June.

The BenRiach Distillery Company has a workforce of 165 employees including 55 seasonal and casual workers.

Following the conclusion of the sale it will operate as a subsidiary of Brown-Forman.

Paul Varga, chief executive officer of Brown-Forman 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.”

Brown-Forman has previously been a minority shareholder of Glenmorangie, marketing Glenmorangie Single Malt Whisky in the US and Canada from 1992 to 2005.

Managing director of BenRiach Distillery Company Billy Walker said: “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 have energized 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 distilleries.”

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