Just two weeks before the Bourbon Classic, the whisky world caught fire this morning when Beam Global announced that they were being acquired by Suntory Group of Japan, creating the third largest spirits company in the world. While many in the American whisky market are shocked by the news, it really is just the continuation of a globalization that has been ongoing in the spirits market for quite a while.
Beam Global had already branched out, and as of the time of this announcement included Jim Beam Bourbon, Maker's Mark Bourbon, Sauza Tequila, Pinnacle Vodka, Canadian Club Whisky, Courvoisier Cognac, Teacher's Scotch Whisky, Skinnygirl Cocktails, Cruzan Rum, Hornitos Tequila, Knob Creek Bourbon, Laphroaig Scotch Whisky, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Larios Gin, Whisky DYC and DeKuyper Cordials. In recent years we have seen other high-end spirits mergers with acquisitions of Pernod and Diageo bringing other American whiskey brands into their portfolios that had already included premium scotch and blended Canadian whiskey products.
he deal agreed to by both boards in this case gives Beam Global stock holders a 25% premium over last Friday's closing stock price, and comes in at around $16 Billion, making it the second largest single spirits acquisition to the Pernod deal in 2005 that came in at around $17.8 Billion.
While only time will tell what this merger will do to the brands included, the fact that there is almost no overlap between market footprints of the two companies means we should see little change according to market insiders. Just as Beam's acquisition in 2011 of Maker's Mark did not change the way that great bourbon was produced, the overall impact should simply be one of increasing distribution and marketing reach of great traditional brands. The greatest fear of most American whisky insiders is that this increased marketing will make already scarce premium Bourbons in even shorter supply domestically, which in the short term is a definite reality.
Here is the official Release