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Distell has acquired Scotch whisky firm Burn Stewart Distillers from CL World Brands and Angostura Limited for ZAR2.2bn (US$244m)

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The deal, announced today (15 April), gives the South African company ownership of Burn Stewart's single malt whisky distilleries, a bottling hall and its marketing and distribution operations. All Burn Stewart whisky stocks currently in maturation also transfer to Distell.

The three distilleries are:

  • Bunnahabhain, on Islay, which makes Burn Stewart's flagship single malt of the same name
  • Tobermory, the only distillery on the Isle of Mull, which produces Tobermory and Ledaig single malts
  • Deanston Distillery near Stirling, where Scottish Leader, the top blended Scotch in its category in Taiwan, is produced

“Our acquisition of Burn Stewart is a very significant development for Distell from a strategic perspective, but also given the rich and proud history and heritage of the brands involved," said Distell MD Jan Scannell. "This gives us an outstanding foundation from which to build, while cherishing their individual traditions.”

The deal follows a JV established in 2007 between Distell and Burn Stewart in which the two parties co-owned and marketed three Scotch whiskies – Bunnahabhain, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader - in sub-Saharan Africa.

Burn Stewart also operates a sales and marketing branch in Taiwan and holds a majority stake in a spirits distribution arm in the US.

Burn Stewart MD Fraser Thornton told just-drinks today that the Distell deal is a "vote of confidence" in the Scotch industry.

Last week, Burn Stewart confirmed that it had suspended production at the Tobermory distillery due to water shortages on Mull.


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