William Grant leads bids for Drambuie

William Grant & Sons is the strongest bidder in the £100m sell-off of Scottish cocktail spirit brand Drambuie, according to reports from industry insiders.

William Grant and Sons whisky

William Grant & Sons already boasts a strong brand portfolio

As Sky News reports, the company best known for brands such as Glenfiddich whisky and Hendrick’s gin is the leading player in a pack of prospective bidders for the family-owned spirit brand.

Other strong contenders include Rémy Martin Cognac-maker Rémy-Cointreau, according to unnamed industry analysts.

Drambuie’s owners are reported to be seeking around £100m for the business — a tempting price for major spirits companies with a desire to acquire another heritage brand in this year of big-budget takeovers.

With acquisitions such as that of Whyte & Mackay by Philippines-based producer Emperador for £430m in May, and other deals in the industry said to be brewing, a quick takeover of a popular brand with owners willing to sell at a good price would not be out of the ordinary.

Drambuie launched eye-catching marketing campaigns of late to encourage younger consumers

Drambuie launched eye-catching marketing campaigns of late to encourage younger consumers

A number of other major drinks groups, including Diageo, are understood to have opted not to make offers for Drambuie, which is being auctioned by bankers at Rothschild.

Drambuie’s owners – the McKinnon family – have been associated with the brand since the early 20th century, but announced their intention to sell the brand in May after flat sales in the key US and Asian markets dampened their success in the UK, where the brand saw 17% growth.

As yet, William Grant & Sons have not made a comment.

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