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Distell buys Burn Stewart Distillers

Distell has bought Scotch whisky producer, Burn Stewart Distillers, from CL World Brands and Angostura for £160 million.

Burn Stewart owns three distillers as well as a strong portfolio of Scotch whisky brands and the deal also includes a blending and maturation facility; a bottling hall; and a dry and finished goods storage site, as well as Burn Stewart’s in-house marketing and distribution functions. All Scotch Whisky stocks currently in maturation also form part of the transaction.

The deal follows an equal partner venture established in 2007 between Distell and Burn Stewart in which the two parties co-owned and marketed three Scotch Whiskies – Bunnahabhain, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader, in sub-Saharan Africa.

Commenting on the deal, managing director of the Distell Group, Jan Scannell, said: “Our acquisition of Burn Stewart is a very significant development for Distell from a strategic perspective but also given the rich and proud history and heritage of the brands involved. This gives us an outstanding foundation from which to build, while cherishing their individual traditions.

“Bunnahabhain, the Burn Stewart Distillers’ flagship single malt, is made on Islay, considered one of the most prestigious whisky locations by connoisseurs. There are only eight distilleries on the Island, so we are extremely fortunate to acquire this very highly-ranked brand.

“Tobermory is the only distillery on the Isle of Mull, one of the most popular tourist spots in Scotland, while the home of Scottish Leader is the Deanston Distillery situated in the Scottish Highlands in Doune near Stirling, close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and another important destination for whisky enthusiasts.”

Distell said it would retain Burn Stewart’s MD and senior executive management and that Burn Stewart will continue to bottle and distribute for the Caribbean-based rum producer Angostura.

Marlon Holder, MD of CL Financial Limited, parent of CL World Brands, which still owns Hine Cognac, said he was confident that Distell would take Burn Stewart to the next level of its international development.

Burn Stewart MD, Fraser Thornton, added: “The close working relationship with Distell over the fourteen years has amply demonstrated the South African group’s capacity, experience and expertise to strengthen and grow the company.

“We have developed solid synergies with a strong cultural fit between our two entities and are enthused by Distell’s plans to recapitalise and advance the business.”

The purchase marks the second time in recent years that Distell has invested in a major global spirits acquisition, after the company acquired cognac brand Bisquit from Pernod Ricard in 2009.

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