Walsh Whiskey and Illva Saronno dissolve joint venture

28th January, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Ireland’s Walsh Whiskey Distillery and Italian drinks group Illva Saronno have ended their joint venture with immediate effect following a dispute over the future direction of the business.

Walsh Whiskey has assumed full ownership of Irish whiskey brands Writers’ Tears and The Irishman following its split from Illva Saronno

Walsh Whiskey said the separation is the result of the firm’s Italian and Irish directors disagreeing “on how to develop the combined business into the future”, despite current sales, marketing and distilling targets “being fully met”.

The dissolution of the joint venture will result in the separation of the existing drinks brands business, which includes the Writers’ Tears and The Irishman Irish whiskey brands, from the distilling operations at the Royal Oak Estate in County Carlow.

The Irish directors will now take full control of the brands arm and will retain the Walsh Whiskey name for the business. The firm also stressed that Writers’ Tears and The Irishman will have “uninterrupted availability”.

Illva Saronno – owner of the Disaronno and Tia Maria brands – acquired a 50% stake in County Carlow-based Walsh Whiskey Distillery in 2013.

The Italian firm will assume full ownership of the distillery based at the historic Royal Oak Estate, which will be renamed Royal Oak Distillery.

Illva Saronno will aim to “further enhance” the site as a “centre of excellence in Irish whiskey” through the improvement of its technology and processes.

The distillery, which produces malt, pot and grain styles of Irish whiskey, will also focus on improving the visitor experience.

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