The Japanese distiller Suntory has just bought the American group Jim Beam, for nearly 12 billion euros. Beam is proprietor of a number of important spirit brands such as Scotch Whiskies Laphroaig, Ardmore, Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch and Teachers; Irish Whiskey Cooley; Canadian Club; Tequila Sauza; Courvoisier Cognac and the Spanish brands Larios gin; Domecq Fundador brandy; Terry Centenario brandy and the Terry Sherry bodegas, not to mention Harveys, whose Bristol Cream is the world’s biggest selling Sherry.
Suntory quietly beat Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits company, to the deal, which is still awaiting final shareholder and regulatory approval, and would make Suntory the third biggest spirits company in the world. For Evaristo Babe, the president of Fedejerez, the body which represents the bodegas, the deal is good news as Suntory understands the language of wine. For some time Beam and Suntory have been distributing each other’s brands in their respective areas, including Sherry.