An iconic maker of American bourbon is about to see some new faces in its upper management team.
Jim Beam, the whiskey producer headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois with large distilleries in Kentucky, has been acquired by Suntory Holdings, a privately- held Japanese firm known for producing the first whiskey in its home country. Suntory and Beam, Inc. sealed the deal on Monday, January 13 at a cost of $13.6 billion in cash plus assumption of debt, bringing the total value of the deal to $16 billion.
Matt Shattock, president/CEO of Beam, Inc., will continue to oversee American operations and likes what the Suntory buyout offers.
“Together, we will be a global leader in distilled spirits with the #3 position in premium spirits and a dynamic portfolio across key categories”, Shattock said in a press release. “With particular strength in Bourbon, Scotch, Canadian, Irish, and Japanese whiskey, the combined company will have unparalleled expertise and portfolio breadth in premium whisky, which is driving the fastest growth in Western spirits.”
Beam, Inc. produces the full line of Jim Beam bourbon, but also produces Maker’s Mark, Canadian Club, and other brands. Suntory Holdings owns popular Japanese brands such as Yamasaki whiskey and Premium Malt’s beer. Combined, the new business will command a large and growing portfolio, not to mention $4.3 billion in annual sales with excellent potential for growth.
The mood among Jim Beam fans might be a little somber following the news of the buyout, but there is no need to worry. Jim Beam will not change. It will remain the same as before, with identical production, processing, packaging, and everything else. And now that it has a large international business behind it, the potential for global reach is stronger than ever. A small piece of Americana might have shifted to foreign ownership, but the potential is enormous and it could lead Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon to the far corners of the globe.