Beam Suntory will acquire a controlling stake in London-based craft gin distiller Sipsmith, according to reports.
The brand will continue to be run by its three co-founders but will be afforded a global distribution network through the Japanese beverage giant. Sipsmith will be sold in markets around the world alongside Beam Suntory’s other brands, including Yamazaki whisky, Laphroaig Scotch and Courvoisier cognac.
The financial terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed.
It comes amid spiralling growth for the gin category, driven in particular by a focus on craft and artisan offerings. Sipsmith was founded in 2009 by two childhood friends, who set about reintroducing traditional London dry gin of an ‘uncompromising quality and character’ – and, in the process, set up London’s first copper pot distillery since 1820.
Every bottle of Sipsmith is hand-crafted in small batches, balancing modern technology with traditional recipes and techniques.
The deal follows Asahi’s move for Anheuser-Busch’s brands, and certain related assets, in five central European countries. The acquisition, worth €7.3 billion and pertaining to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania, is designed to help the Japanese brewer become a more significant global operator, particularly in Europe.
It had already paid in the region of €2.5 billion to acquire the Peroni, Grolsch and SABMiller brands of beer.
It is seen as a sign that Japanese firms are future-proofing themselves against decline in the Japanese market.
Earlier this month, Suntory invested ¥100 billion in new soft drink production lines at its existing facilities in Vietnam, increasing its overall capacity in the country by 200 million cases a year in a market that already accounts for 40% of its Asian revenues.
And in November, Ajinomoto acquired a one-third stake in African food company Promasidor for $532 million.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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