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CANADA/US: Corby Distilleries offloads spirits brands to Sazerac Co

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Pernod Ricard-controlled Corby Distilleries has agreed to sell a raft of non-core spirits brands and a production facility in Canada to Sazerac Co for US$32.9m.

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Sazerac will acquire 17 brands from Corby, including De Kuyper Geneva gin, Grand Duke and Red Tassel vodkas and Silk Tassel Canadian whisky. It will also pick up a production facility in Montreal, the two companies announced today (28 September).

The deal enhances Sazerac's position in Canada and slimlines Corby's portfolio as it seeks to focus on higher-margin brands. Inventory for the 17 brands is included on top of the $32.9m price tag, said the firms, which expect the deal to close by the end of October.

"We had some brand overlap in certain spirit categories," said Corby's president and CEO, Patrick O'Driscoll. "This transaction helps us streamline our portfolio with a more focused and targeted collection of brands. It also frees up more of our resources to create growth opportunities for our priority brands including Wiser's Canadian whisky, Lamb's rum and Polar Ice vodka.

"Corby is committed to a strategy of value growth and a focused brand portfolio that positions us for long-term growth in key categories with premium spirits and wines."

Sazerac's president and CEO, Mark Brown, added: "Canada has become an important market for Sazerac over the past decade ... . We are particularly pleased at the prospect of being able to develop the De Kuyper brand in Canada." Sazerac will produce and bottle a number of Corby-owned brands under licence at the Montreal facility, the group added.

New Orleans-based Sazerac already owns what used to be Constellation Brands' "value" spirits business, which it bought from the wine giant in March 2009 for $334m. In August this year, Sazerac signed a deal to acquire 32 brands from fellow US company White Rock Distilleries


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