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William Grant & Sons acquires Drambuie

After much speculation, William Grant & Sons has confirmed its acquisition of Scotch whisky liqueur brand Drambuie for an undisclosed sum.

Drambuie-William-Grant
After more than 100 years under family ownership, Drambuie has been acquired by William Grant & Sons

The UK group, maker of Glenfiddich Scotch whisky and Hendrick’s gin, today issued a statement claiming it had purchased the Drambuie Liqueur Company Limited, which owns the Drambuie brand, described as a “very natural addition” to the company’s portfolio.

It was revealed in May this year that Drambuie had been put on the market after spending more than 100 years under ownership of the MacKinnon family. Around two months later, reports claiming William Grant was planning to bid for the brand began to circulate.

While William Grant & Sons has not yet officially revealed how much it has offered to buy the brand, analysts estimate that it is worth around £100 million.

“We have a passion and a reputation for nurturing and building brands,” said William Grant & Sons’ CEO Stella David.

“Drambuie is a natural fit for our portfolio, it has a very rich history and a great story to tell and we are delighted to be in a position to start to re-engage with existing drinkers and to connect the brand with an entirely new generation of consumers.”

Drambuie has undertaken a rebranding effort in recent years in an attempt to appeal to a younger market. Part of this effort was the launch of the brand’s A Taste of the Extraordinary campaign.

In its financial results for 2013, Drambuie revealed that its overall operating profit had risen 5% to £3.37 million, while its “star” UK market saw growth of 17%. However, the brand admitted to “flat” sales in the US – its “most important market” – and reduced distributor stockholdings in Asia.

According to Euromonitor senior analyst, Jeremy Cunnington, the acquisition is a “good fit” for William Grant as the both brand and group count the UK and US as their key markets.

Drambuie, a blend of Scotch whisky, spices and honey, dates back to 1745 and was became famous in the 1950s as the main ingredient in the Rusty Nail – a cocktail favoured by member of the Rat Pack.

“We are pleased to complete this process with William Grant & Sons, a company who holds true those family values which will help nurture Drambuie to begin its next chapter of growth,” said Michael Kennedy, CEO of Drambuie.

“As part of the William Grant & Sons stable of brands, we believe that Drambuie can truly achieve its potential as it will benefit from being part of a larger and more diverse organisation.

“I look forward to working with the William Grant & Sons’ team as we smoothly integrate the acquisition and help realise the benefits for both companies.”

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