Fortune Brands has been given the green light for its acquisition of the US Bourbon brand Maker's Mark.

In a statement, the company said that the US Federal Trade Commission has terminated the waiting period to review the company's proposed acquisition of the brand. The FTC's action clears the way for Fortune Brands to unconditionally complete the purchase of Maker's Mark and its related facilities, including the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky.
Maker's Mark is among the more than 20 spirits and wine brands included in Fortune Brands' previously announced transaction with Pernod Ricard. While Fortune Brands closed the transaction for the acquisition of the brands on July 26th following Pernod Ricard's acquisition of Allied Domecq, the purchase of Maker's Mark remained subject to regulatory review in the US.

"As one of the most respected and fastest growing brands in the spirits industry, Maker's Mark will be a high-impact addition to our newly-enhanced spirits and wine portfolio," said Fortune Brands chairman and CEO Norm Wesley. "Maker's Mark continues to experience double-digit growth year after year. We see continued momentum for the brand and excellent international growth opportunities. Along with Jim Beam, Knob Creek and our other Small Batch bourbons, Maker's Mark gives us an all-star bourbon lineup with leadership positions at all premium tiers." Annual sales of Maker's Mark exceed 500,000 9-litre cases.

"We're excited to bring seven generations of Beam family heritage together with the great bourbon-making heritage began by the Samuels family in Kentucky more than 200 years ago," said Tom Flocco, president of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, the spirits and wine business of Fortune Brands. "From its one-of-a-kind recipe that includes limestone spring water and locally grown red winter wheat to its meticulous craftsmanship and distinguishing red wax seal, Maker's Mark is unique in every way. In fact, when the Maker's Mark recipe was perfected in 1958, the brand launched the modern bourbon era with its distinctive taste profile. Like Jim Beam, Maker's Mark is steeped in family tradition, and we're looking forward to supporting Bill Samuels, Jr.'s efforts to preserve the brand's heritage and build on its market success."

The company's new spirits and wine brands - which also include Sauza tequila, Courvoisier cognac, Canadian Club whisky, Laphroaig single-malt Scotch, Clos du Bois wines and several leading national brands - place it among the top four spirits companies in the world and will more than double Fortune Brands' sales of spirits and wine. The company expects to complete the purchase of Maker's Mark in the near future.