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Paddy whiskey owner in hunt for new brand home

Sazerac is keen for joint venture, say sources


Paddy Whiskey

Paddy Whiskey

Paddy Whiskey

Paddy Irish Whiskey owner Sazerac, one of the largest producers of distilled spirits in North America, is understood to be looking to develop a new home for the spirit.

It is understood Sazerac, which owns over 450 brands worldwide, including Southern Comfort spiced whiskey, Fireball whiskey and Buffalo Trace bourbon, has approached distilleries in Ireland with a view to either forming a joint venture or acquiring a distillery to create a brand home for Paddy.

It is further understood that the New Orleans-headquartered company had also considered building a distillery.

Sazerac said it did not wish to comment.

In 2016, Sazerac acquired the Paddy Irish Whiskey brand from industry giant Irish Distillers, which produces Jameson, for an undisclosed sum. Documents filed in the Companies Registration Office indicated Irish Distillers would receive €90m from the sale.

Under the deal, Irish Distillers would continue to produce Paddy Irish Whiskey at its Midleton Distillery in Co Cork under a long-term supply agreement with “no impact on roles at Irish Distillers” and all employees maintaining their posts under “current terms and conditions”.

At the time of the acquisition in 2016, Paddy Irish Whiskey was considered the fourth-largest selling Irish whiskey brand globally, with sales of around 200,000 nine-litre cases.

In 2018, Sazerac subsidiary Hi-Spirits took over the distribution in Ireland of Paddy Irish Whiskey from Irish Distillers.

An industry source said most brands in the sector, like Sazerac, would be keen to develop their own distillery.

The source added they believed Sazerac would be looking for a reasonably large distillery as it could aspire to become a brand selling half-a-million cases. They said said there is quite a bit of interest overseas in Irish whiskey, adding the move by Sazerac to find a new location for Paddy would make sense.

Another source said they were aware of Sazerac’s interest in either forming a joint venture with a whiskey distillery or building one from scratch.

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According to the latest accounts for Sazerac’s Irish subsidiary, Sazerac of Ireland, the company reported a profit after tax of over €1.4m in the year to end of June 2020, down from nearly €3.3m. In addition, it reported a turnover of over €18.3m, down from around €22.7m.

At the end of its financial year, Sazerac of Ireland had assets of nearly €172.8m, up from €95.3m in 2019, and liabilities of just over €15.8m.

The directors’ report said it had increased its net assets by €1.3m.

Accounts for Paddy Whiskey, which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of the brand, show the company had retained profits of over €2.1m at the end of June 2020. This was up from retained profits of around €1.2m at the end of its previous financial year.

Both Paddy Irish Whiskey and Sazerac of Ireland applied to re-register as private unlimited companies in June.

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