April 18, 2013 – Distell Group’s $245.4 million (USD) acquisition of Scotland’s Burn Stewart Distillers this week fills a gaping hole in the South African-based company’s global portfolio. The deal gives Distell Burn Stewart’s Scottish Leader and Black Bottle blended Scotch whiskies, the Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, and Deanston distilleries, and a majority stake in International Beverage Company, the Atlanta-based U.S. importer and distributor for Burn Stewart’s whiskies and other spirits.
The two companies have been partners in Africa since 2007, as Distell distributed Burn Stewart’s whiskies in the region. “Obviously, it does help if you have a relationship with Burn Stewart, so we knew the brands and the management team very well,” Distell spirits business director Caroline Snyman told WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie today. “There was a gap in our portfolio, particularly more on the global side, that Scotch Whisky could fill.”
Snyman says Distell is still looking at Burn Stewart’s operations before deciding on management changes or capital investments. However, it appears that investments in expanded production capacity are likely. “We will be looking to increase our stocks so that we have more supply available for the future.” Distell will also take advantage of Burn Stewart’s existing network to expand distribution for its Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain South African whiskies, as well as its Amarula cream liqueur.
Snyman also expects to continue Burn Stewart’s efforts to expand distribution of Scottish Leader, which is a strong seller in Taiwan and other Asian markets, as well as Scotland. Burn Stewart had started making initial inroads into the U.S. market with the brand during 2011 and 2012, with a goal of nationwide distribution.