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THE GLENDRONACH  12  years old 43 %            
Wm. Teacher & Sons, Ltd, Glasgow

THE GLENDRONACH  12 years old 43 %
LAST  BOTTLE  AND  EMPTY  
        
MATURED IN SHERRY CASKS
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE GLENDRONACH   12  years old 43 %           
TRADITIONAL
Matured  in
Seasoned Oak and Sherry Casks
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE GLENDRONACH   15  years old 40 %             
100 % MATURED IN SHERRY CASKS
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE GLENDRONACH   18  years old 43 %             
Distilled: 1976
Bottled: 1994
Matured in
Seasoned Oak and Sherry Casks
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

GLENDRONACH  9 years old 59 %            
VINTAGE 1987
Matured in a Sherry Butt
Distilled 29.5.87
Bottled 11.3.97
Butt No. 61
660 bottles
Signatory Vintage
Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd, Edinburgh

GLENDRONACH   9 years old 43 %           
VINTAGE 1987
Matured in a Sherry Butt
Bottled 15.2.97
Distilled 29.5.87
Cask No. 58
880 bottles
Signatory Vintage
Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd, Edinburgh

GLENDRONACH   13 years old 46 %            
Distilled: 1990
Bottled: 2003
Cask Ref: MM 579
Cask Type: Bourbon
Not Chill Filtered
Not Coloured
Ideal Drinking Strenght
Rigorously Selected
'Clachan A Choin
Murray McDavid Ltd,
Glasgow and London

GLENDRONACH       Aged  33 years  51,4 %    INFO
1 9 7 5                                                        
THREE  GENERATIONS
distilled in 1975 by ALBERT SHAND
Distiller and Glendronach Manager
filled into the cask by EUAN SHAND
who also coopered the cask and
finally bottled in 2008 by ANDREW SHAND
Euan's son

THE     GLENDRONACH          Aged 12 year  43 %    INFO                               
ORIGINAL
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Matured in a Combination of the Finest
Pedro Ximinez and Oloroso Sherry Casks
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited
Forge by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH        Aged 15 years  46 %          INFO           
REVIVAL
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Exlusively Matured in the finest Spanish
Oloroso Sherry Casks
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
The Glendronach Distillery Co Limited,
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH       Aged 18 years 46 %            INFO       
ALLARDICE HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Exclusively Matured in the Finest
Spanish Oloroso Sherry Casks
Date Bottled April 09
Lot 1
6600 Numbered Bottles
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited,
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH    Aged 18 years 46 %     INFO              
ALLARDICE
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Exclusively Matured in the Finest
Spanish Oloroso Sherry Casks
Date Bottled April 09
Lot 1
6600 Numbered Bottles
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited,
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH    Aged 15 years  46 %   INFO                
REVIVAL
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Exlusively Matured in the finest Spanish
Oloroso Sherry Casks
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
The Glendronach Distillery Co Limited,
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE     GLENDRONACH  Aged 12 year  43 %    INFO                          
ORIGINAL
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Matured in a Combination of the Finest
Pedro Ximinez and Oloroso Sherry Casks
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited
Forge by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH  Aged 38 Years  49.4 %  INFO
 1 9 7 1
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY   
Date Distilled  25/02/1971
SINGLE  CASK
Cask type OLOROSO  BUTT
Cask Number 483
Date Bottled 07/2009
544 Numbered Bottles, numbered by hand
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Limited,
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH     INFO
Aged  14 years  46 %                           
VIRGIN  OAK  FINISH
HIGHLAND  SINGLE  MALT
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Finished in The Finest
American Virgin Oak Casks
Distilled, Matured and Bottled by
The Proprietors
The Glendronach Distillery Limited
Licensed since 1826
Forgue, Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

THE   GLENDRONACH
                                                                           

THE  GLENDRONACH  Since 1826
CASK  STRENGHT   55,2 % INFO                                  
BATCH  2
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Matured in a Combination of the
Finest Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez
Sherry Casks
Bottled at Cask Strenght
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
Dstilled, Matured and Bottled by
The Proprietors
The Glendronach Distillery Co, Ltd,
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire

THE  GLENDRONACH  INFO      
Aged  10  years old  55,3 %              30,00    60,00
SINGLE  CASK
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distilled  2 0 0 2
Specially selected during
The Usquebach Society
Whisky Trip March 6th 2013
Date distilled 19/07/2002
Fresh Virgin Oak Hogshead
Cask Number 1743
312 Numbered Bottles
The GlenDronach Distillery Co, Ltd
Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

THE  GLENDRONACH
Aged 8 years 43 %                              
Fine Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distilled and Bottled
in Scotland
Bourbon & Sherry Cask
Special Bottling for
Whisky Manufaktur
Since 2000
Limited Edition
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
Whisky Manufaktur, Berlin

THE  GLENDRONACH INFO
Licensed since 1826
8 years old  46 %                                           
THE  HIELAN
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Matured and Married in a
combination of the finest
Bourbon & Sherry Casks
Non Chill Filtered
Natural Colour
Distilled, Matured and Bottled by
The Proprietors
The Glendronach Distillery Limited
Forgue, Huntly, Aberdeenshire

GLENDRONACH INFO
Age 9 years 58.3 %                                   
SINGLE  MALT  SCOTCH  WHISKY
FROM  A  SINGLE  CASK                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Date Distilled: 8th  June 2006
Cask Type: Refill Barrel / ex Bourbon
Outturn: One of Only 172 Bottles
Society Single Cask: Code:  9 6 . 8
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh
Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Relaxing in an Alpine meadow

Highland Malt
Speyside
THE GLENDRONACH (1826 -1996) (2002


Forgue, Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Licentiehouder: Wm. Teacher & Sons Ltd. Werkmaatschappij van Caledonian Malt Whisky Distillers Ltd. Onderdeel van Allied Distillers Ltd. De wijnen drankdivisie van Hiram Walker Ltd. Eigendom van Allied Lyons Plc.
Gesticht in 1826 door James Allardyce, samen met een syndikaat van lokale zakenmensen. Het was één van de eerste legale distilleerderijen in de Hooglanden. De naam komt van de nabij gelegen Dronac Burn.
Daar wanbeheer, gevolgd door een grote brand in 1837, eindigde het beheer van James Allardyce.
Walter Scott, een ervaren distillateur, die het vak had geleerd te Teaninich, werd de volgende eigenaar. Hij was heel succesvol, en welvarend.
In 1920 werd The Glendronach verkocht aan Captain Charles Grant, de vijfde zoon van William Grant van Glenfiddich.
De familie Grant bleef 40 jaar eigenaar van The Glendronach tot in 1960 George Grey Grant de distilleerderij verkocht aan Wm. Teacher & Sons Ltd.
Gedurende de jaren 1966 - 1967 werd de distilleerderij verbouwd en de kapaciteit ver-dubbeld.
Wm. Teachers & Sons Ltd werd in 1976 overgenomen door Allied Brewers. In 1981 werd Allied Brewers deel van Allied - Lyons.
In 1987 werd het Canadese concern Hiram Walker - Gooderham & Worts overgenomen nadat al eerder de helft van het aandelenkapitaal in hun bezit was.
Een poging om The Distillers Company Ltd over te nemen mislukte.
Allied Distillers kocht in 1990 de drankendivisie van Whitbread, ook een bierbrouwer, en kreeg toen The Tormore en Laphroaig in zijn bezit, met de merken Long John en Black Bottle.
Met de fusie met Domecq kwam ook Lochside bij de groep.
Glendronach is Keltisch voor dal van de bramen en ligt vlakbij een roekenkolonie.
Glendronach werd in 1995 (tijdelijk) gesloten.
De vier ketels worden met kolen gestookt. Het proceswater komt van de Source Burn, het koelwater van de Dronach Burn.
Ongeveer 15 % wordt door Glendronach zelf gemout. De gerst komt van boeren in de omgeving.
Op 1 Mei 2002 wordt Glendronach weer opgestart, men gaat 270.000 liter spirit produceren dit jaar, volgend jaar 1.000.000 liter.

De mouterij blijft gesloten.
De Mash tun is 3.72 ton. De Wash backs, negen stuks, hebben elk een inhoud van 18.125 liter.
De twee Wash stills hebben elk een inhoud van 13.635 liter, de twee Spirit stills elk 6800 liter.
De capaciteit was 900.000 liter.
In Mei 2001, na een periode van zes jaar, wordt Glendronach opgestart door Paul Porter -Smith, de managing - director van Allied Distillers Ltd.
Tot eind December 2001 werd er 270.000 liter spirit geproduceerd te Glendronach, het is de bedoeling dat in 2002 ëën miljoen liter alcohol wordt geproduceerd.
Het laatste jaar voor zijn sluiting in 1996 werd er 300.000 liter spirit geproduceerd. De nieuwe spirit wordt nu gelagerd in first - fill American bourbon casks.

Februari 2003
Dumbarton Distillery sluit. Het komplex waar ook het hoofdkantoor van Allied was gevestigd, hergde ook de Dumbarton Grain distilleerderij, en ook werden de malt whiskies Lomond, waarvan slechts één botteling bekend is, uitgebracht door de Scotch Malt.Whisky Society, The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh onder code nummer 98.1, en Inverleven.
De capaciteit van de Grain distilleerderij Strathclyde wordt vergroot tot 39 miljoen liter spirit per jaar, dat was 32 miljoen liter.
Het hoofdkantoor wordt gevestigd te Kilmalid.
Het enorme gebouwencomplex is verkocht aan twee projectontwikkelaars.

2005   The distillery sluit een half jaar, om de ketels om te bouwen van kolen gestookte-
tot indirect met stoom gestookte ketels

De distilleerderij wordt in September weer opgestart       

Chivas Brothers onderdeel van Pernod Ricard, wordt de nieuwe eigenaar door de      

overname van Allied Domecq

2008   September ongeveer 4 jaar nadat Billy Walker, samen met twee Zuid - Afrikaanse
compagnons Geoff Bell en Wayne Kiesewetter Ben Riach hebben overgenomen
wordt nu Glendronach gekocht
Nu worden er van Glendronach alleen een 12- en 33 jaar oude whisky uitgebracht

De voorraad van Glendronach zou van heel hoge kwaliteit zijn, vooral oudere whiskies gelagerd op sherry vaten, alleen de whisky van de laatste jaren zijn gerijpt op Bourbon vaten

1826            Founded by a consortium led by James Allardes

1837            The major part of the distillery is destroyed in a fire
 
1852            Walter Scott from Teaninich takes over

1887            Walter Scott dies and the distillery is taken over by a consortium from Leith

1920           Charles Grant, son of the founder of Glenfiddich Distillery, buys Glendronach
  for 9.000 Pounds and production starts 3 months later
        
1960           William teacher & Sons buys Glendronach

1966 - 1967
                 The number of stills is increased from two to four

1976          A visitor centre is opened

1976          Allied Breweries takes over William Teacher & Sons

1991          Glendronach is one of a selected few in Caledonian Malts by Allied Distillers

1996          Glendronach is mothballed

2002          Production starts on 14th May

2005         Glendronach 33 years old is launched and the distillery closes for six months to
 rebuild  from coal to indirecht firing by steam and reopens in September Chivas Brothers, Pernod Ricard becomes new owner
                through the acquisition of Allied Domecq
                          
2008         Pernod Ricard sells Glendronach to owners of Ben Riach, headed by Billy Walker,
for 15.000.000 Pounds
                
Although known for maturing predominantly in sherry casks since reopening in 2002 the whole production has been filled in bourbon casks

James  Allardice (1780 - 1849)

Inventor,  Pioneer, Entrepreneur, Founder of The Glendronach Distillery

Founded in 1826 by James Allardice Glen Dronach was one of the very first licensed distilleries

Allardice was a colourful character and stories abound as to how he promoted his whisky
with entrepreneurial flair.

He was also a pioneer of wood finishing and would have celebrated today's superb Glen Dronach

Matured in a combination of the best Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks - the Glen Dronach is a perfectly balanced, smooth, creamy full - bodied single malt Scotch whisky

The GlenDronach distillery in the Forgue valley in Aberdeenshire is named after the source
of its water; the Dronach burn

It has a history of enterprising owners from the flamboyant James Allardice to the ambitious
Walter Scott. Although times have moved on the process used to create the GlenDronach have remained largely unchanged.

Today's malt is created using great Oregon pine washbacks and the same shaped still used
in 1826


October 2009

There is an investment in sherry cask of 5.000.000 Pounds in the next 4 or 5 years
and an investment of 2.000.000 in brand promotion

In 2008 20.000 bottles of Glendronach were sold, 2009 150.000.

The new owners of Glendronach have selected five Vintages for their first series
of single cask bottlings

All five in the traditional Glendronach style: richly sherried, from Oloroso Butts.

Each will bottled at cask strength, natural colour, no chill filtered and bottles are
individually numbered by hand and will be housed in a de luxe gift box
The full cask list in 2009 is:

1971     cask  483   38 years old
1972     cask  719   37 years old
1992     cask 1140  16 years old
1993     cask   523  16 years old
1996     cask   193  13 years old

James  Allardice (1780 - 1849)

Inventor,  Pioneer, Entrepreneur, Founder of The Glendronach Distillery

Founded in 1826 by James Allardice Glen Dronach was one of the very first licensed distilleries

Allardice was a colourful character and stories abound as to how he promoted his whisky
with entrepreneurial flair.

He was also a pioneer of wood finishing and would have celebrated today's superb Glen Dronach

Matured in a combination of the best Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks - the Glen Dronach is a perfectly balanced, smooth, creamy full - bodied single malt Scotch whisky

The GlenDronach distillery in the Forgue valley in Aberdeenshire is named after the source
of its water; the Dronach burn

It has a history of enterprising owners from the flamboyant James Allardice to the ambitious
Walter Scott. Although times have moved on the process used to create the GlenDronach have remained largely unchanged.

Today's malt is created using great Oregon pine washbacks and the same shaped still used
in 1826

The GlenDronach was chosen in a momentous time in the history of the Usquebach Society.
Twenty eight members made the pilgrimage to one of the most scenic distilleries in Scotland,
to adore eight of the highest quality samples of the finest nectar GlenDronach has
to offer.

The angels guided us to thid Virgin Oak expression which is as fresh as a woman just out of the shower, as multi - layered as a brilliant musician and with the depth of an accomplished
novelist.

This GlenDronach has a story, listen to it, take it in, and enjoy.


From its hillside home in the Scottish Highlands, The GlenDronach Distillery has been creating the finest richly sherried single malts for nearly 200 years.

In 1826 the exuberant and extroverted James Allardice founded the distillery and produced his ‘Guid GlenDronach’ single malt. Down the years, the distillery he created has thrived under the stewardship of far-sighted investors like Walter Scott in 1847 and Captain Charles Grant in 1920. In more recent times, GlenDronach was bought in 1960 by William Teacher & Sons. Originally, all of the workers at GlenDronach lived on site, including the distillery manager, staff, excise man, brewer and all of their families. To this day many of the old houses still remain. The most famous of them all is Glen House, which was built in 1771. Home to many of the distillery’s managers, the grand Georgian building could probably tell a tale or two. Rumour has it; the front room is haunted by a Spanish lady, who travelled over to Scotland in a sherry cask. Apparently she is quite partial to the odd tipple now and then. In 1968, GlenDronach was released as a single malt brand for the first time and the brand’s reputation grew from strength to strength. In 2008, nothing less than a complete renaissance began. The BenRiach Distillery Company became GlenDronach’s proud new owner. While time can never stand still, the commitment of the team at GlenDronach will ensure that the distinctive practices that have always defined the distillery will live on – the most influential of these, its return to independent ownership.

GLEN HOUSE

Originally, all of the workers at GlenDronach lived on site, including the distillery manager, staff, excise man, brewer and all of their families.
To this day many of the old houses still remain.

The most famous of them all is Glen House, which was built in 1771. Home to many of the distillery’s managers, the grand Georgian building could probably tell a tale or two. Rumour has it; the front room is haunted by a Spanish lady, who travelled over to Scotland in a sherry cask. Apparently she is quite partial to the odd tipple now and then. Today, Glen House is used for corporate entertainment and is enjoyed by guests from around the world.

1771
GLEN HOUSE WAS BUILT
The house was originally called Boynsmill and was renamed by James Allardice when the distillery was built in 1826.

1826
The Distillery Was Founded
The GlenDronach Distillery was one of the first licensed distilleries in Scotland.

1830
Bought Over
The distillery was bought over by Walter Scott (From Teaninich).

1860s
The Largest
GlenDronach was the largest duty paying distillery in the Scottish Highlands.

Over 50 people lived on site at this time, including all of the workers and their families.

1920
Captain Charles Grant
Captain Charles Grant bought over the distillery.

Charles was the son of the founder of the Glenfiddich Distillery

1960
William Teacher & Sons
The distillery was bought over by William Teacher & Sons.

Teacher's expanded the number of stills at GlenDronach from two to four.

1996
GlenDronach Was Mothballed
The distillery was mothballed for a number of years by its owners Allied Distillers.

2002
Distillery Re-Opened
GlenDronach was once again in full production.

2005
Chivas Brothers Take Over
Allied Distillers was taken over by Pernod Ricard and the distillery was passed to Chivas Brothers.

2005
GlenDronach Converts To Steam Heating
The distillery was one of the last to heat the stills by coal fire.

2008
TAKEOVER
GlenDronach was taken over by the BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd.

2015
Global Whisky Distiller of the Year
The BenRiach Distillery Company was named Global Whisky Distiller of the Year at the 2015 Icons of Whisky Awards. A fantastic achievement for a small privately-owned independent company to win this prestigious global award.

Inside are a traditional rake and plough mash tun, wooden washbacks and four stills which were coal fired until 2005, the last in Scotland to be heated in this way. Today there is just a quiet susurration of steam in the stillhouse, but the oddly shaped wash still and the plain sides of the spirit still cut back on reflux, helping to build weight in the spirit.

These days, ex-Sherry casks are the distillery’s signature style. Some is 100% Sherry matured, some is started in ex-Bourbon casks to pick up vanilla sweetness before being racked into ex-Sherry.


One of a trio of distilleries in the Garioch, Glendronach was founded in 1826 by a partnership of local farmers headed by James Allardice. Under his charismatic lead, it built a strong reputation (it was on sale in London soon after its foundation) but tragedy struck in 1837 when a fire virtually destroyed the distillery. The bad news continued when Allardice went bankrupt in 1842.

His promotional activities had however stood the whisky in good stead. Seeing its potential, Walter Scott (not the author) came forward in 1852, and rebuilt the distillery into its current condition. Its next most significant owner arrived in 1920, when Capt. Charles Grant, the youngest son of William Grant of Glenfiddich, bought it. It remained with the family for 40 years when it was sold to Wm Teacher & Sons. who added a second pair of stills in 1967.

It passed into the orbit of Allied Distillers in 1976, when that firm purchased the Teacher’s estate. In 1991, it was released as two 12-year-old expressions – one aged in ex-Bourbon, one in ex-Sherry – a real innovation for the time, but the brand never received any serious backing. Placed in mothballs between 1996 and 2002, it ended up with Pernod Ricard which sold it in 2008 to The BenRiach Distilling Co.

Since then, a new visitor’s centre has been opened and a new range of single malts has been released. It is fast becoming a favourite with Sherried malt lovers globally and has built a considerable following in Taiwan.

Glendronach was purchased by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey producer Brown-Forman in 2016 along with its acquisition of The BenRiach Distillery Company.

1826
The distillery is founded by the Glendronach Distillery Co, a partnership of local farmers headed by James Allardice
1837
Fire strikes the building, virtually destroying it
1842
The company goes into administration
1852
Ex-Teaninich manager Walter Scott purchases Glendronach and rebuilds the distillery
1887
The distillery is purchased by a partnership from Leith
1916
Glendronach is bought by the Crown
1920
Having remained silent under government ownership, Glendronach is purchased by Captain Charles Grant and is reopened
1960
Glendronach, having remained in Grant family ownership for 40 years, is sold to William Teachers & Sons
1966
Two additional stills are installed, bringing Glendronach up to four
1976
Teachers becomes part of Allied Distillers
1991
A pair of Glendronach 12-year-olds are released
1996
The distillery is mothballed
2002
Production resumes
2005
Glendronach switches from coal fire heating to steam, becoming the last in Scotland to switch over
2008
Now owner Pernod Ricard sells the distillery to the BenRiach Company
2016
Glendronach is sold to US company Brown-Forman along with the rest of the BenRiach Distillery Company

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
1.4
CONDENSER TYPE i
Standard condensers
FERMENTATION TIME i
60-96hrs
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
3.76
HEAT SOURCE i
Diesel, external heat exchangers
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Optic and Concerto - less than 2ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
Port Gordon maltings
MASH TUN MATERIAL i
Cast iron body, copper dome
MASH TUN TYPE i
Conventional drainage
NEW-MAKE PHENOL LEVEL i
Natural occurring phenol value
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
69-70%
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
20%
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
6,000
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Onion
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
9,000
STILLS i
4 (2 wash, 2 spirit)
WAREHOUSING i
6 warehouses (3 traditional dunnage and 3 rack warehouses)
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
9,000
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Onion
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
12,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
18,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Wood
WASHBACKS i
9
WATER SOURCE i
Balnoon Spring
WORT CLARITY i
Bright
YEAST TYPE i
Mauri liquide yeast
OWNERS

The BenRiach Distillery Company
2008 - present
CURRENT OWNER

Glendronach Distillery Company
PREVIOUS OWNERS

Pernod Ricard
2005 - 2008
Allied Domecq
1994 - 2005
Allied Lyons
1978 - 1994
Allied Breweries
1976 - 1978
William Teacher & Sons
1960 - 1976
Captain Charles Grant
1920 - 1960
Government ownership
1916 - 1920
John Somerville & Co
1887 - 1916
Walter Scott
1852 - 1887
James Allardice
1826 - 1842

BROWN-FORMAN’S BENRIACH BUY

Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman has spent £285m to buy the BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh single malts. But has the US spirits giant overpaid for the privilege? Richard Woodard investigates.

BenRiach emblem
Trade secrets: There has been much speculation around the sums involved in the BenRiach deal
‘Clearly people want to be in this industry, though the opportunities are limited. The price of entry to the industry is also very high now.’

That’s Billy Walker, speaking to The Scotsman two years ago. Following the £285m paid by Brown-Forman to acquire The BenRiach Distillery Company – the business of which he is managing director – those words seem remarkably prophetic.

The deal for the BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries, announced last week, is already being described in some quarters as ‘a Billy Walker deal’ – in other words, one negotiated by a person with the happy knack of buying something at a knock-down price – then selling it on at a considerable profit.

Just how big is that profit? Some reports have suggested that the Walker family will net up to £95m from the deal – never mind the sums collected by Walker’s fellow investors, South Africans Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter.

Given that the company paid Chivas Brothers £5m for BenRiach back in 2003, and bought Glenglassaugh in 2013, five years after it too had changed hands for £5m… Sure, the deal also includes GlenDronach, a bottling plant in Newbridge and the company’s Edinburgh headquarters but, from a seller’s point of view, the maths look rather attractive.

Indeed, some of those attending the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival over the past few days were quick to suggest that Brown-Forman had paid £100m over the odds for the company. But are they right?

Brown-Forman has worked in Scotch before. My first contact with the company, more than 15 years ago, came at the annual TFWA duty free trade fair held in Cannes, when it was marketing Glenmorangie alongside Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort and Woodford Reserve.

That association – selling Glenmo in various markets, including North America and travel retail – ceased when Moët Hennessy bought the Glenmorangie business in 2005 (by the way, the French company only paid £15m more – £300m – for a company that included Glenmorangie, a revived Ardbeg and Glen Moray, and they were accused of overspending at the time).

BenRiach casks

Spreading the risk: Is the BenRiach deal part of a diversification strategy?

Anyway, these guys know what they’re doing when it comes to brown spirits, with Jack Daniel’s an unparalleled masterclass in 21st-century brand-building. They’ve exited what they thought were the less attractive strands of the business – selling Southern Comfort and Tuaca to rival US spirits business Sazerac for $542.4m in March this year – and decided that the best way to surf the whisky revival is to diversify.

First it was Irish whiskey – the company announced its acquisition of Slane Castle Irish Whiskey Ltd, alongside a $50m investment in a new distillery, in June last year – and now it’s Scotch.

This move into ‘rival’ whisky segments, at a time when American whiskey is flying at home and overseas, works in a couple of ways, using the receipts of Jack’s success (and of the Sazerac divestments) to move into two equally buoyant spirits areas: Irish whiskey, currently the fastest-growing spirits category on the planet, and single malt Scotch, whose ascent (particularly in the US) is being constrained by supply, rather than demand.

In this way, the deal also constitutes a spreading of risk; if the American revival stutters (and it is, at least partly, driven by flavour innovations such as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, which are already showing signs of losing momentum), then a presence in the Irish and Scotch single malt segments might help to counteract that slowdown.

Consider another emerging deal, announced in the past 24 hours and involving Southern Comfort’s new owner, Sazerac: the company has entered into exclusive negotiations to buy the Paddy blended Irish whiskey brand from Pernod Ricard-owned Irish Distillers. Another American spirits company moving into a fast-moving, overseas whisky category? Is this an emerging pattern?

Whether symptomatic of a nascent trend or not, the Brown-Forman/BenRiach acquisition – and its price-tag – has been driven by two overriding factors: the perceived potential of relatively under-exploited single malt brands; and the scarcity of businesses of this type and scale that are for sale – the ‘price of entry’ mentioned by Billy Walker in his Scotsman interview.

For those reasons, whatever the tittle-tattle and sharp intakes of breath at the sums involved, you suspect that both parties are more than happy with the deal.
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