Standing listening last night to The Macallan’s brand ambassador, Joy Elliot, who was conducting a tasting of the new 1824 Series at the Whisky Shop in London’s Piccadilly, I could not resist a feeling of déjà vu.
The purchase price of Cooley, the industry’s only remaining independent Irish whiskey distillery, has been set at $95m on a debt-free basis.
Cooley owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands.
According to Beam, the whisky company sells approximately 250,000 nine-liter cases per year, divided among its brands, private label products and bulk sales to third-party customers.
The US group added that Cooley has the production capacity to support “substantial future growth”.
Matt Shattock, president and chief executive officer of Beam, said: “Cooley is one of only three sources for Irish whiskey, and the only independent player, so this transaction is a unique and compelling high-return opportunity to enter one of the industry’s highest growth categories.
“We see the opportunity to leverage our combination of scale with agility to further build consumer demand for Cooley’s award-winning brands, and to expand distribution off a relatively small base in key export markets for Irish whiskey across North America and Europe.”
John Teeling, chairman and founder of Cooley Distillery, said: “The renaissance in Irish whiskey, most evident in the United States, is now spreading across the world. Through Beam, our brands, built on quality, will be introduced to a host of new consumers.”
The parties expect to complete the transaction in the first quarter of 2012.