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Monday, 23 July 2012

Les Bruichladdich

Well, it's official. After the chatter on Twitter, the following press release was sent to us by Mark Reynier about the sale of Bruichladdich to Rémy Cointreau: 

Rémy Cointreau UK Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rémy Cointreau Group has agreed to acquire Bruichladdich Distillery Company Limited, the Islay single malt
Scotch whisky distiller.

The transaction marks the group’s first move into the premium single malt Scotch whisky market, a category experiencing strong growth all over the world, especially in the very high-end segment. This deal sustains Rémy Cointreau’s long term value strategy, geared to investing into international premium spirits with strong “savoir-faire”.
Bruichladdich, the progressive Hebridean distiller, was purchased in December 2000 by Mark Reynier and a group of private investors who resurrected the Victorian distillery developing it in to an exciting brand with worldwide acclaim.

Total transaction value amounts to £58m, comprising of £48m for the acquisition of the entire
share capital of Bruichladdich and estimated debt of £10m that Rémy Cointreau will assume.
Jean-Marie Laborde, Chief Executive Officer of Rémy Cointreau said:

“The acquisition of Bruichladdich, a renowned Islay single malt with a rich and exciting heritage, is a great opportunity to enrich our high-end portfolio of brands and to confirm our strategy in the spirits luxury segment. We expect Bruichladdich to sit proudly alongside our other brands and we look forward to working closely with Bruichladdich’s experienced and passionate management team”.

Sir John Mactaggart, Chairman of Bruichladdich declared:
“This is an excellent transaction for Bruichladdich, the Islay community and a wonderful
opportunity for the company to reach its full potential, under the stewardship of Rémy Cointreau with their strong distribution network and their experienced brand development. I’m confident that Bruichladdich will establish itself as one of the Scotch whisky industry’s best known and acclaimed premium brands.”

Completion of the transaction is expected to occur within 6 weeks.'

So where does this the distillery now?  Well, in pretty good hands actually.  According to Chairman Sir John MacTaggart, 'I am particularly pleased Rémy Cointreau will be retaining the existing staff and will continue to keep Bruichladdich as an Islay-based business. Although they are a quoted company, Rémy Cointreau are still a family controlled business, founded nearly 300 years ago.'

We asked Mark Reynier for an update on his own situation and haven't heard anything back as of yet, but no doubt, the industry would be a poorer place without him.  

What about the whisky?  Well, we suspect that there won't be any fundamental changes here -  why would Rémy tinker with the formula? Let's hope not, in any case. 

Some people have been particularly critical about this sale - but let's not forget that ten years ago, the team of investors took a distillery in desperate need of attention, turning the business around into a 55,000 case enterprise. We've not always been a fan of the distillery releases, but there's no mistaking that the recent milestone Ten Year Old has left the distillery in a fine place. 

Good luck to the team and we look forward to the new expressions, which will no doubt be popping out in the future.