Sunday 2 May 2010

A new player in Irish whiskey

The suspense didn't last long. On Friday it was announced that William Grant & Sons had picked up C&C's spirits division (which includes Tullamore Dew) for €300m. William Grant operates five distilleries in Scotland and its brands include Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Grant's. It is, apparently, the third-largest producer of Scotch after Diageo and Pernod Ricard, both of whom are already in the Irish whiskey business. Game on, then.

It's a curious purchase, given that the manufacture of Tullamore Dew is contracted out to Pernod Ricard. But an article in today's Scotsman offers an explanation. According to that, William Grant plans to build a new distillery in Ireland to make Tullamore Dew and ramp up sales volume. A NEW DISTILLERY! Didn't see that coming. I don't even care now that an Irish-owned brand went out of Irish hands because the trade off is A NEW DISTILLERY!

The article also hinted that the higher-than-expected price was due to interest from Suntory in Japan. Now that they've thought about Irish whiskey seriously, perhaps Suntory would like to build their own distillery here? C'mon, Japan, everyone's doing it!