3 BenRiach brands bought by Bacard Brown-Forman in £285m deal

Billy Walker

BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries have been sold to Bacardi Brown-Foreman in a deal worth £285 million.

The brand distilleries are being sold as well as a bottling plant in Newbridge and the company’s HQ in Edinburgh, and will see Jack Daniels’ owner Brown-Foreman make a return to the single malt market after an absence of a decade, since it sold Glenmorangie to Moet Hennessy in 2005.

Former Burns Stewart investor, Billy Walker, along with two South African investors Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter, bought the BenRiach Distillery in 2005 after it had lain unused by owners Chivas Rigal. Creating The BenRiach Distillery Company, they then went on to acquire GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh, and the firm now employs 165 people, including 55 seasonal and casual workers.

Paul Varga, the chief executive of Bacardi Brown-Forman, which employs 4,400 people, said: “The acquisition of these super-premium brands will allow us 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.”

Walker, managing director of The BenRiach Distillery Company, said, who was formerly an operations director and investor in whisky firm Burn Stewart, 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. 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.”

The GlenDronach Distillery, located in the hills of the Scottish Highlands, was founded in 1826. GlenDronach produces a range of ultra-premium single malt whiskies and is most noted for its richly sherried whiskies. Located in the heart of Speyside, The BenRiach Distillery began making malt whisky in 1898 and is known for experimenting with wood finishes producing whisky from both non-peated and peated malted barley. The Glenglassaugh Distillery, founded in 1875, is located on the coast in the northern Scottish Highlands overlooking the North Sea producing a coastal Highland malt.