Blog: Chris Brook-CarterFarewell Allied

Chris Brook-Carter | 27 July 2005

So, its farewell to Allied Domecq, then. After year’s of  speculation, and only month’s of negotiations, the  Bristol-based wine and spirits producer finally ceases to  exist this week as it merges into Pernod Ricard and  Fortune Brands.
 
It was 1961 when the merger of three major UK brewing and  pub-owning companies, Ind Coope, Tetley Walker and  Ansells, led to the creation of Allied Breweries. Since  then, the company has changed shape and direction across  each of the decades it has been in existence. Finally, in  1999, following the disposals of Cantrell & Cochrane,  Panrico Donuts and its UK pub business, Allied Domecq  morphed into the company we came to know in the new  millennium.
 
It took its place as the world’s second largest wine and  spirits group, behind Diageo, in a world where category  sales were growing and consolidation was rife. But, the  truth was that, under the direction of CEO Philip Bowman,  Allied was always being groomed for a sale to the highest  bidder. It was this fact that ultimately characterised  the group in its final years.
 
For most, the surprise is not that Allied has sold out,  but that it has taken this long to happen.
 
Despite its international portfolio and Spanish name,  there was always something quintessentially British about  the group, with its portfolio of brands such as Lamb’s  Navy Rum, Beefeater, Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Teachers  that practically screamed “God Save the Queen”; its base  in the South West of England, away from the ugly dealings of the City; and its underdog image among investors,  battered but never quite beaten.
 
Our enduring memories of Allied at just-drinks, though,  will be of good stories, excellent drinks and some great  friends.
 
Good luck to everyone at Allied Domecq, whether you are  moving to Pernod, Fortune or pastures new. It is certainly the end of an era.

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