Quintessential buys First Ireland Spirits3rd April, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
International drinks group Quintessential Brands has bought First Ireland Spirits Company, which claims to be Ireland’s biggest independent producer of cream liqueurs and Irish county creams.
First Ireland Spirits currently sells more than 700,000 cases of Irish cream liqueurs and Irish county cream each year across 35 markets worldwide.
In addition to a brand collection that includes O’Mara’s Irish County Cream, Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur, Irish Knights Irish Country Cream and The Dubliner Irish whiskey liqueur, the company claims to be Ireland’s leading independent of private label Irish cream liqueurs.
The multi-million euro deal forms the latest stage in Quintessential Brands’ ambition to expand its brand portfolio since the group was founded in 2011 by former Gruppo Campari CEO Enzo Visone.
The group’s subsidiaries include G&J Distillers, which produces 60% of UK gin and 20% of premium gins worldwide, and wholesale drinks supplier Essential Brands. In 2013 Quintessential Brands entered into a partnership with Marblehead, giving it access to the UK firm’s extensive on-trade and prestige off-trade distribution network.
Describing this latest acquisition as giving Quintessential Brands “an unrivalled position in the global market for Irish cream liqueurs,” Visone confirmed the move as “part of our strategy to become a leading European independent player in the spirits industry.”
“First Ireland Spirits has well-established customer and international distribution platforms, a strong portfolio of brands and proven production capabilities, which will add to our branded and private label businesses, enhance our route to market capability and open up new opportunities in other dynamic spirits and liqueurs categories,” he outlined.
“The acquisition by Quintessential Brands ensures management and employees of First Ireland Spirits have an exciting future as we pursue our ambitious plans to expand our operations in Ireland.”
Having co-founded the Irish firm in 1993, Owen Brady noted this moment as the “appropriate point in time” to join forces with this larger spirits group.
“As part of Quintessential Brands, First Ireland Spirits will now have the opportunity to grow sales in the international Irish cream markets as well as expand into other Irish spirits categories,” he explained.
“I am very proud of what we have built over the years and this deal represents an exciting opportunity for the company and its employees.”