Pernod Ricard snaps up Jefferson's bourbon

Spirits giant Pernod Ricard has agreed a £183 million cash deal to purchase Jerfferson’s bourbon producer Castle Brands.

The firm has been making ambitious inroads into the American whiskey category of late and Jefferson’s bolsters a portfolio that already featured Smooth Ambler, Rabbit Hole and TX.

Castle Brands also owns rum brand Goslings, Irish whiskey brands Knappogue and Clontarf, Pallini Limoncello, Boru vodka, Brady’s Irish cream and Scotch whisky brands The Arran, Robert Burns and Machrie Moor, which all now join the Pernod portfolio.

“Through this acquisition we welcome this great brand portfolio, in particular, Jefferson’s bourbon whiskey, to the Pernod Ricard family,” said chief executive Alexandre Ricard. “Bourbon is a key category in the US, which is our single most important market. This deal aligns well with our consumer-centric strategy to offer our consumers the broadest line-up of high-quality premium brands.

“As with our American whiskies Smooth Ambler, Rabbit Hole and TX, we would provide Jefferson’s a strong route to market and secure its long-term development, while remaining true to its authentic and innovative character.”

The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2019.

Pernod Ricard, whose portfolio includes Jameson, Chivas Regal, Glenlivet, Absolut and Campo Viejo, delivered its full-year 2018/19 financials today. It saw organic growth of 6% to reach revenue of £8.3 billion.

That strong performance led it to hand investors a 32% dividend hike and it also unveiled plans to buy back up to £910 million in shares.

Growth was driven by China, while sales in Europe increased by just 1%. Success in Eastern Europe offset its struggles in Western Europe, where France experienced a slowdown amid commercial disputes.

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