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US spirits company snaps up UK whisky business

One of America’s largest private distillers, The Sazerac Company, has snapped up one of the UK’s “most exclusive” spirits businesses, premium whisky companies, The Last Drop Distillers.

Last Drop Distillers has a range of premium aged whiskies and a Cognac

The move will allow New Orleans-based The Sazerac Company, whose range of spirits brands include Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace, Firefly, and Bowman’s, to boost its footprint in Europe, as it steps up its ambitious growth plans. It is also set to invest in the new acquisition as it extends its portfolio into the “super premium” craft market.

The Last Drop Distiller’ co-founder and chairman James Espey said the acquisition marked the next stage of company’s development which would take the brand to “the next level” and allow it to accelerate growth in response to the rising global demand for luxury goods.

“The existing team of passionate and experienced spirits pioneers will continue to steer the direction of the brand, while the investment allows us to grow our international footprint and widen our opportunities to search for the rarest spirits in the world,” he said.

The London-based company’s collection comprises a 50-year old double matured whisky, a 1967 single malt, a 48-year old and a 50-year old blended Scotch, a vintage 1950 Cognac from 1950  and a 1960 blended Scotch.

The company was founded in 2008 by whisky veterans James Espey and Tom Jago, who previously worked on brands including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, The Classic Malts, Malibu and Baileys Irish Cream. It is now run on a day-to-day basis by their daughters, sales and marketing director Beanie Espey and creative director Rebecca Jago and Espey confirmed the current team will continue to run the Last Drop Distillers business as a separate entity.

In January, former CEO of Morrison Bowmore Distillers, Mike Keiller, was appointed to the board.

Sazerac has acquired more than 20 companies in the last 18 year and previously told db it planned to continue to be “as acquisitive as we possibly can”, as well as building brands organically.

Mark Brown, president and CEO of the Sazerac Company said the company was excited to be partnering with “industry legends” to bring some of the rarest spirits to the global consumer market.  “As a family owned company we fully appreciate the value of a small, engaged and passionate team in a venture such as The Last Drop Distillers and look forward to continuing the excellent progress the business has made since its inception,” he said.

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