Whisky Advocate

The next scotch distillery to be sold?

October 6th, 2011

I was thinking about this on my plane ride to San Francisco to attend WhiskyFest tomorrow night. It’s a pretty dynamic time in the industry right now, with new distilleries being built, distillery expansions, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if a distillery changed hands sometime in the near future too. It’s pure speculation on my part. I have no insider information or anything like that.

The first one that came to my mind: Bruichladdich. I don’t know if the owners even have an interest in selling (I have never asked), but now that they have ten continuous years of whisky production behind them (which hasn’t happened in a while), it sure makes them more attractive.

What do you think will be the next distillery to change ownership? And why?

42 Responses to “The next scotch distillery to be sold?”

  1. JohnM says:

    There has been some speculation over Bladnoch recently, although I don’t know how true it is. There’s also speculation over Grant’s plans in Ireland. Some suggest Kilbeggan is an option.

  2. Mark Reynier says:

    No we are not interested in selling. Life is too exciting where we are just now with all the things we have been working on over the last decade finally starting to come to Market…

  3. Mike Dereszynski says:

    It’s reassuring to hear Mark’s reply. Much of the character of a distillery is not just found in the bottled spirit.It’s the people who work there. I hope Mark and Jim and the rest of the Laddies n Ladies a long and prosperous life at Bruichladdich.

  4. Mike Dereszynski says:

    If I were to name a distillery I would like to see sold,it would be Parkmore Distillery in Dufftown.

    • kallaskander says:

      Hi there,

      there was a rumour that Parkmore could be sold to Glenfiddich some time ago.
      Now that they mothballed Kininvie – who knows what will happen.
      On the other hand they are busy developing Tullamore Dew and there is talk about a
      “Tullamore Dew” distillery as well.

      I would hope Bunnahabhain would be sold. She needs some urgent repairs.

      Just for speculations sake I would say that one of Pernod Ricards distilleries could be next.
      PR still has 9 billion Euros on the debt side and that is a hinderance for further growth.

      There are still some mothballed PR distilleries.

      Not that the sale of one or two distilleries would bring even one billion but every little bit helps.

      Greetings
      kallaskander

    • Danny Maguire says:

      Parkmore belongs to William Grant, they bought it to protect the water supply to Glenfiddich. For that reason alone it will never be sold, or produce, again.

  5. Mary says:

    I would like to see Ben Nevis sold or fixed up! Nikka has not been a good custodian.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      You should listen to what Ralfy has to say on that one, Mary. He’s been very vocal about it.

    • Mr_Claw says:

      I totally concur with both you and Ralfy on this.

      It was some old(er) indy-bottled Ben Nevis that first stoked my love of single malt whisky.

      I *know* that Ben Nevis *can* be an excellent malt. So frequently, though, it simply isn’t good enough.

  6. B.J. Reed says:

    I would think the safest are the small owner groups nd the independents (edrington, burns stewart, inverhouse, morrison-bowmore) while the larger ones ( diagio and pernot) might be more likely to look at their portfolio and see duplication or misalignment

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Can you think of any distilleries that Diageo has sold BJ?

      • B.J. Reed says:

        well bladnoch comes to mind at least they will do what they think protects their portfolio and that might include closing, selling or otherwise shifting ownership – impact of roseisle will be interesting to watch

  7. jimi says:

    I’d like to see LVMH buy up a couple more and have to spin off The Glenmorangie Company (inc. Ardbeg) back to independent status.

  8. sku says:

    Well, since Fortune Brands split up its operations, there has been a lot of talk of one of the spirits giants buying the new, free-standing Beam spirits company. Depending on the purchaser, such a deal could well lead to a sale of one of the Beam distilleries (Laphroaig, Ardmore) or one currently held by the buyer in order to eliminated duplication or a required sale in order to avoid anti-trust issues.

  9. Hopsaregood says:

    I don’t see Mark Reynier selling Brucichladdich. He has poured his heart and soul into that distillery, I believe that he still has a lot that he wants to do. There are whiskies still to be made and perfected. I do not not know him, but of him by the book about Bruickladdich and other writings. That is why I think that that Laddie is to personal to him to sell any time soon.

  10. bgulien says:

    All kinds of rumors singing around on the internet. None of them come to fruition as yet.
    I would hope that a few of the mothballed distilleries are opened again, like Imperial, which is still in remarkable good condition.
    BTW, received my copy of Whisky Advocate today. Excellent.
    Hours of reading with a nice dram.

    • Hear, hear!
      There has been some excellent Imperial bottlings from Creative Whisky Company and Douglas Laing. It would have been lovely too see more whisky from this distillery. As for the Bladnoch rumours, the last I heard, Raymond decided not to sell despite apparant interest from Weymuss.

    • MrTH says:

      Imperial is in terrible shape. Word is that it’s full of asbestos, too. It seems extremely unlikely that anyone would want to take it over as is. The best hope might be that someone with deep pockets would redevelop the property, with the faint possibility that a reconfigured distillery could be part of the package. But I think most likely the bulk of the plant, as it stands, would have to come down.

      • MrTH says:

        Heh, trying as I typed this to remember where I’d heard Imperial was full of asbestos…it was in response to my comment below, where I suggested Imperial was a good candidate for sale. Since I made that comment, I’ve driven by the site, which is getting increasingly dilapidated, and have also had a brief conversation about it with someone who works for Chivas Bros, both factors in my dimmed viewpoint on Imperial.

  11. mark davis says:

    With lots of large market fluctuations and low low low interest rates it makes a lot of sense.

    I have to agree with bgulien, this issue of the whisky advocate is definitely the best one yet :)

    • John Hansell says:

      Thanks Mark. A lot of effort went into it.

      • Chris says:

        Agreed. I’m still not thrilled with the presentation, but the content is as good as it’s ever been, and that’s really why I buy it. BTW, LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo of the bottles for the cigar pairing article, so mouth watering!
        As for distilleries being up for sale, I know it’s not going to happen, but I’d like to see a couple of the Diageo distilleries sold to someone who’ll focus on bottling as single malt rather than blends (Mortlach, Dailuaine, etc..).

  12. MrTH says:

    Something undervalued. Bunnahabhain certainly springs to mind…someone with some vision could do something with Scapa, too. There are some mothballed Speysiders that would be good candidates, as well–Imperial being an obvious choice, although that would take very deep pockets.

  13. Henry says:

    These crickets are getting pretty loud.

  14. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    Imperial came to my mind but I think – asbestos aside, of which I learnded here just now – the one problem of Imperial are the huge stills.
    Imperial can not be operated on a small scale and with profit at the same time – afaik.

    Glen Keith is the workshed for Chivas Brothers othe distilleries nearby with all sorts of things going on. She well never produce again most probably but I do not think Chivas might sell it.

    Greetings
    kallaskander

    • Danny Maguire says:

      Any distillery could produce again if people are ready to spend money on it. With Imperial you’ve either got a lot or you’ve got nothing. If you’re ready to spend money getting rid of the asbestos and all the other modernisation needed, several million, another £400,000 on a new set of stills is not a major expense.

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