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Issue 132 - Sunbeams

Whisky Magazine Issue 132
December 2015


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A light shines down on Beam Suntory

With the coming together of two opposing spirits, the recent merger of two global drinks powerhouses: Suntory and Beam has resulted in a bumper year for the newly formed group. There was bound to be speculation as to whether the merger of Japanese giant Suntory (the home of Yamazaki, Hakushu Japanese single malts, premium Japanese blend Hibiki and Bowmore Scotch whisky) and Beam Global, a company with a hugely renowned North American whiskey portfolio, (including Maker's Mark, Jim Beam and Canadian Club, as well as Laphroaig single malt) would be a smooth ride.

Back in January 2014, Suntory Holdings Limited announced it had entered into an agreement with Beam Inc, which saw it acquire all the outstanding shares for Beam in a deal reportedly worth approximately $16 Billion. The acquisition created what Matt Shattock, CEO of Beam Inc described as “a dynamic portfolio across key categories, with particular strength in Bourbon, Scotch, Canadian, Irish and Japanese whisky, which is driving the fastest growth in Western spirits.”

Nearly two years later, the dust has finally settled and the first rays of sunshine are beginning to shine through, with a whole slew of new products coming to market from the now combined whisk(e)y portfolios.

With a shift in foundations, there is inevitable chatter about whether the newly aligned brands – particularly in the Scotch sector can co-exist without effectively cannibalising one another. It's a question I recently posed to Gar...

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