Whisky Advocate

Bruichladdich selling to Remy?

July 9th, 2012

It would appear so. Observe this tweet two hours ago from Mark Reynier:

“Today I can confirm that we are in advanced talks with Remy Cointreau who are eager to buy the company.”

You don’t go public in negotiations like this unless it’s pretty much a done deal. It would be premature (and foolish) to do so.

I predicted this this on my blog post back in October, when I said the market was ripe for some buying and selling. My first pick? Bruichladdich.

Am I sad about this? Sure, a little bit. But this is the nature of the business. Distilleries get bought and sold. Even fiercely independent ones… Hopefully, a deal like this will be good for the consumer in the long run.

What is more painful to read, however, was Mark Reynier’s comment to my post back then:

“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…”

Now that, my friends, makes me sad.

No Responses to “Bruichladdich selling to Remy?”

  1. Tony says:

    Mark Reynier just tweeted that he will be surplus to requirements under t he new owner, which is sad.

  2. Terry says:

    I thought they would have held out longer. This makes me sad. When I heard Jim talk so passionately about being independent and celebrating the release of Laddie 10 – just last year – I would have never predicted this so soon. I’m sure the offer from Remy was massive. After all, Bruichladdich is one of the most exciting distilleries out there today. I guess consolidation in the drinks business is inevitable. Craft breweries in the US are doing a good job of holding out so far, but their time will come soon enough as well. So, if Remy does in fact complete the deal, I wonder what will happen to the massive amount of releases that Brucihladdich puts out. They’ll probably want to consolidate the line as well. Bummer.

  3. It’s at this point that I can’t help but wonder if there were issues beginning either in financial matters or “relationships” within the distillery hierarchy. About a month ago on twitter there were some pretty interesting discussions between Mark Reynier and others that seemed like arguments… I suppose, we the consumer, will never really know the reason for the sale…

    All and all, I really love Bruichladdich and have several of their expressions. I’m worried the large conglomerate will change the way laddies are made and we will see yet another great whisky disappear.

  4. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    hi John.

    In a way Bruichladdich and the peaople behind it are in the same circumstances Cooley was when the Glenfiddich Grants came along.

    Mark had talked about offers being made for Bruichladdich in past – frequent offers from various interested parties.
    The question is… is Remy Cointreau a interested party? The Laddie does not fit well into the Remy portfolio but there might be the point reached where Bruichladdich can not grow without a potent partner for some needed investments.
    In the background there is the connection of Remy Cointreau via Maxxium with Glenfiddich – or via First Drinks actually. But it ends out the same.
    If Bruichladdich goes to Remy Cointreau there are people there in the background who know their way around whisky.

    What is in great doubt is the attitude and spirit the laddie team showed when rebuilding the name and the distillery.
    Can that be preserved under a new ownership and Mark Reynier surplus to – whose ? – requirements?
    And will Jim McEwan stay on? I doubt it to be frank.

    Greetings
    kallaskander

  5. Richard says:

    I posted that Jim McEwan stated that he was retiring last Feb. I’ve talked to distillers that are esentially new startups that said they hope to get bought up. The way the world works. History repeats itself. Better to get bought up now then close when the coming surplus hits.

    • Lazer says:

      Any thoughts on when that surplus is going to hit?

      • Richard says:

        Just working out the final calculations. Tell me how much you’re drinking (and hoarding) so I can compare it to what they’re stock piling. ;-) The good news is 20 year olds go down in price.

        • Richard says:

          Ok.. With pinpoint accuracy the surplus will hit sometime between next thursday and the next millenium. If you want to capitalize on the surplus remember those Two rules for success. Rule 1: don’t tell everything you know.

  6. Michael Dereszynski says:

    The Bruichladdiich Blue is a sadder blue for me today. I know Jim has talked about retirement but will he enjoy living next door to the Big Blue with its new owners, What will happen to all his plans n dreams for the Distillery,what about the plans to resurrect Port Charlotte ? I know he has always been concerned for the Bruichladdich community and it’s livelihood ,I don’t know that an off Islay corporation necessarily wood.I
    I’m looking at my Bruichladdich Valinch bottle labeled “Dodgers & Shammersteins The Sound of Snouts in the Trough” I hope that will not be the case.

  7. John Hansell says:

    I’m happy for the guys at Bruichladdich over the past ten years who took a neglected distillery and made something good of it. These guys followed their dreams, took risks, worked very hard, and deserve to be rewarded for it. I can’t help but feel that there was still more left to the dream though…

  8. NP says:

    Those guys did a major job setting the distillery where it is right now and on a business perspective there is absolutely zero shame taking the rewards for being so successful.
    My hat to you gentlemen, what you achieved over the last 10 years is truly impressive. I ll pop my bottle of Comus tonight to toast your success.

    Now I am not going to lie: i do fear i ll one day read something along the lines of “Bruichladdich, the Islay craft distiller acquired by Remy-C last year in a $80 million deal, tells SND it’s increasing production for 2014 by 87%. Bruichladdich’s volume was up 112% last year thanks Remy-C’s network. The distillery is confident in reaching its goal of 15 million cases by 2015, according to Impact Databank.”
    As long as new ownership doesn’t put out too soon on the market an overly sweet, plastic-weirdberry-infused version the whisky i liked to drink…

  9. two-bit cowboy says:

    I can’t help thinking this outcome is a natural evolution. Consider the myriad times Mark said, “The first ten years are the hardest.” Burn out?

    All the best in the future to the lassies and laddies who’ve made the dream come true.

  10. Louis says:

    This news evokes mixed feelings for me. Certainly, Jimmy and Mark deserve the rewards of over ten years of hard work. But it would be sad to see the distillery going in a different direction, just as they are beginning to chart their own direction (i.e. without being dependent on the stocks that were part of the initial acuisition).

    But then again, we have no idea how that would have worked out. Maybe we enjoy too much of the current 10 year old, and there are shortages of 15 and 20 year old malt 5 & 10 years down the road. Port Charlotte and Octomore are still a work in progress regarding the ultimate distillery character, with no defined age points as of yet. Jimmy will be missed, but master distillers come and go elsewhere. So I guess we just have to wait and see.

  11. David D says:

    I have no question that Remy can continue to make quality whisky, but part of my love for Bruichladdich is rooted in the people who work there and everything they’ve been able to accomplish without big corporate money. Having just visited recently and discussed future plans for K&L casks and projects, I did NOT see this coming. I’m still in shock, actually.

    • John Hansell says:

      I’m not surprised. Saw it coming when they hit 10 solid years of production, and that’s why I posted about it last October. Everyone has their price, regardless of how independent they claim to be (and claim they will be). Welcome to the real world.

      • David D says:

        It’s not that I don’t understand the idea of selling out, or that it’s totally worth it when the right figure comes along, it’s just that I was there less than two months ago and they were talking about selling MMcD so that they could focus more on the company. Why do that when you were planning on letting the whole thing go anyway?

        • John Hansell says:

          Well, David. Maybe to make everyone (especially spirits buyers for specialist retail stores who are prolific bloggers with a large audience) think things are status quo? Why rock the boat when you are about to close on a big deal? Again, welcome to the real world.

      • Tadas A. says:

        John, I am very impressed. You almost literally predicted the future :) As always, your blogs are spot on and attention grabbing reads!

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Wait, I forgot– What’s the important thing about the “real world” of whisky?

        Is it that whisky industry people want money more than anything?

        Or is it that whisky idealists are disappointed by that?

        Or is it that the “real world” is a notion, which is intended to trivialize that disappointment?

        • Tadas A. says:

          I can simplify for you ;) It is two schools of thought. One making whiskey for:
          1. Primary to make largest amount of money in shortest time possible.
          2. Other things like quality, innovation, passion, community are secondary.

          Second type of making whiskey for:
          1. The passion of creating a great product, a new product; for recognition; to contribute to community while doing it.
          2. Money is secondary as means to accomplish goals above and making a living.

  12. Par Caldenby says:

    I have sort of anticipated this one coming, sooner or later it just had to. But I have to concur with the aforementioned commentators, that it comes as a bit of a shocker to happen right now, especially when they have managed to trawl through the first ten years and now have a (very good) flagship 10 yo out. I am actually sipping just that, right now. As John mentioned, this is news that are not spread or confirmed unless it is pretty much a sealed deal – as my lawyer self knows very well. My distiller self is however slightly in mourning over what this will bring. No other place was quite like Bruichladdich. And under big company ownership, that is set to change, I am confident. That, to me, is sad. But, it is perfectly clear that the people who started her up again and who have now put more than ten years of very hard work and big risks into the venture, they deserve their just reward. No doubt. However, it is with very mixed feelings I take on this piece of news.

  13. Tim Read says:

    Maybe I’m jaded from working in technology, but I say good on Mark et al for seemingly being ready to close a pretty solid deal.

    Honestly, it’s a distillery with (award-winning) stock, they’ve got a pipeline of products and the beginning of some solid brand differentiation in the form of their own name, the Port Charlotte and Octomore names. It’s a smart buy for Remy and probably at a better price than going with a lesser-known name that they might have to have several “rebuilding years” with.

    I understand the feeling some may have but let’s not get overly sentimental – this is a business decision for those guys. This is a feather in the cap of Jim and Mark (and the other partners) who may have a definite empty, “what’s next?” feeling. They’ll probably be in that spot for a little while mentally. But that said, this by all indications was a deal that was impossible to say no to. Sometimes it’s best to recognize what you’ve done, take the credit for a decade’s worth of hard work and move on to the next challenge in life. Celebrate what they’ve done – this isn’t a decade of *your* life that you’re moving on from. Just a handful of good bottles. (And hopefully, more to come).

    I for one look forward to what’s up everyone’s sleeve next after a well-deserved break. Better to go out on top and sell when you can instead of selling when you have no other option.

    • David D says:

      I’m not unhappy for Bruichladdich. I’m sad for myself! These emotions are completely selfish and inwardly focused.

      • Ps says:

        I agree in that this whole thing sort of gutted me and I’m not sure why… Love the 10yr and really looked forward to a great brand for years and years. We’ll see!

      • Tim Read says:

        DD, I guess what I’m saying is what did you have invested? I guess you personally had a relationship with them so I see that; for a lot of us though they are a bottle on the shelf.

        I guess I am going to go here and risk the crap-storm. I think people get sentimental (and perhaps envious of the success) when these things go down but didn’t have a lot positive to say about distillers before things went down. I mean, the knock on Bruichladdich prior to last fall was some sort of wan joke about their 500 expressions. Now they sell and suddenly everyone had an equity stake and cracked open a Carmel Kosher wine finish cask on the birth of their firstborn, even though they spent the last 7 years talking about Lagavulin.

        I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular (really, I’m not). We can’t predict the future but we also can’t keep lightning in a bottle. Everything’s got a beginning, a middle and an end… and this is an end for some of the guys but a new beginning. I choose to remember the stuff that I liked, forget what I didn’t, and look forward to what might come next from these guys.

        • Ps says:

          You’re right about sudden sentimentality TR, and you’re correct about the jokes of 500 expressions…
          But it seems that many see bruichladdich as just turning a corner. Standard expressions havent been remarkable for some time (“rocks” anyone?) But the 10yr is fantastic… can’t wait for a 12, 15, or 18yr etc…Will we continue to pay a premium for bruichladdich if they aren’t independently run?

          • Tim Read says:

            If the spirit’s good, I’ll pay. I think that maybe was the one thing you could easily grant ‘Laddie: that 10y is not premium priced (or at least doesn’t feel it in today’s market…) That pricing will no doubt disappear under new ownership.

          • David D says:

            THAT is exactly the point. “Will we continue to pay a premium for Bruichladdich if they aren’t independently run?”

            I’m way too sentimental, you’re right. But that’s how I roll.

        • John Hansell says:

          Tim, I am happy for the all the Bruichladdich guys and all they’ve done. I wish them all the best in the future. I am especially happy for Jim McEwan, my good friend for 20 years. This was a dream come true for him, and I hope that he now gets some well-deserved time off.

          I think what David and I are struggling with is that certain Bruichladdich folk told us one thing and then did the opposite–within a very short timeframe. In my case, it was Mark’s comment in my post above. To tell us all publically that you have no intention to sell and spin this yarn about all the great plans you have for the future (basically reassuring us that you will remain independent) and then to sell your company within months, well that’s a tough pill to swallow. If they are this close to finalizing a deal, you know that negotions have been going on for many months now. David was just there two months ago and, according to his comment above, got a similar story.

          I guess I feel we were being misled. It’s true. Money changes everything.

          • Tim Read says:

            I understand what you’re saying, John, but I think you’re taking it personally as if there was some nefarious ulterior motive. It would have been utterly irresponsible for Mark to tip that the distillery would be sold two months ago when talks were in a nascent state. While it may have felt like the most honest and forthcoming arrangement to you guys, what kind of situation would be be in if suddenly Bruichkaddich were left at the altar and there were no more suitors? Guys like David might be steering clear because they’d think a sale was imminent and Bruichladdich might see a short term problem with selling to consumers.

            Beyond that, as was mentioned earlier, you don’t really tip your hand until the deal is done or you’re close enough that the remaining steps are mostly a formality (for similar reasons). Maybe they were talking two months ago, but there is a LOT that goes into the sale of a company, and deals fall through all the time. It’s kind of a poor show of discretion to be leaking the info left and right when there’s nothing firm or certain.

            As to a comment in October of last year – that was almost nine months ago! I don’t think the Remy deal was in the works back then, and from my back & forth with Mark yesterday as well as a lot of other coverage, it seems that Remy was the offer that demanded to be taken seriously.

            I can see I’ve been in tech long enough that I don’t really harbor any romantic notions about this stuff so I must be in the minority here. You can have your plans and ideas for what you want to do and pursue them wholeheartedly. There are going to be tire-kickers all the time if you’re on the right path and their offers are usually a joke. But occasionally (and I’ll even throw in “if lightning strikes and you’re lucky” though that’s a gross simplification) someone comes to you with an offer that is irresponsible to turn down. Maybe it disappoints some that you take the money. However, it may enable you to follow an even crazier dream in the future. Or it might just be the opportunity to take a much-desired break.

            I guess this is something I won’t see eye to eye on with everyone.

          • David D says:

            Tim, you’re right about many things. The problem is there’s only so much I can talk about openly to help convey my sentiment.

          • John Hansell says:

            Hi Tim. I don’t think anyone here was expecting to Mark or anyone at Bruichladdich to say anything during their negotiations. When I sold my company, it tooks six months, and I didn’t say a word to anyone until we signed. And it doesn’t really matter to me when their negotiations began, whether it was ten months ago or two. That’s not the point I was trying to make.

            The point I was trying to make is that when I suggested that Laddie was ripe to be purchased in my blog post last October, Mark Reynier came here and basically reassured all of us that this wasn’t going to happen. Or at least not anytime soon. That’s how I (and the others who responded to his comment) interpreted it. I put a certain degree of trust into that statement. And here we are, nine months later.

            I’m not angry. I’m sad, more than anything. The older I get, the more I value trust in a relationship, because I’ve come to realize how rare and special it is.

          • Scribe says:

            Having toiled in the financial communications vineyards of public companies for many years, there is always a conflict when it comes to M&A. A couple of points I’ll make just given my own experience.

            First, while Bruichladdich is not — to my knowledge — a “publicly owned” company, Remy is. They have legal guidelines on when they (and companies to whom they may be speaking) can discuss M&A and when they cannot…with the key focus being on when a deal is finalized or a letter of intent has been signed. Neither company could tip their hand before it was finalized, IMHO, given Remy’s public ownership.

            Second, John’s point is still valid — Bruichladdich folks, per his post, said the following:

            “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…”

            In my experience, it would have been far better — and more truthful — not to address whether or not they are interested in selling. That was a definitive “no,” and that’s not something you want to come back and hurt your own credibility, as it now has done for them.

            My view? Take out the first sentence of their reply, and you would have, IMHO, a far better answer…not necessarily satisfying for John, but more honest when all of us would look back after a deal is announced:

            “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…”

            Leave out the “we’re not interested in selling comment” and the remaining comment reflects the passion Bruichladdich has always brought to market. I remember my first sampling — the 3D Peat Proposal — and will always have a special place in my heart (and liquor cabinet!) for Bruichladdich, as long as they maintain their quality and commitment to innovation! :)

          • John Hansell says:

            Well said. That would have been fine with me.

          • mongo says:

            i don’t know. i think it’s a hard position for reynier and co. to have been in (re your post last october). when a well-known industry figure such as yourself invites public speculation on the likelihood of your company being sold you can’t not respond. if he had not responded he would have been seen as tacitly confirming what you’d said. if he does respond can he actually say, yes, we want to sell the company? that’s not very good business strategy.

            and, of course, his statement may well have been true: they really may not have wanted to sell the distillery. everything he said about being excited about their future may have been true. remy may just have made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. you probably went through something similar when malt advocate was acquired by shanken.

          • John Hansell says:

            I believe that Mark was sincere at the time. And I think you are correct that Remy threw so much money at the investors, it was hard to turn down.

            But I disagree with you that Mark was compelled to respond. Like Scribe points out, he could have (and should have) kept silent, just like he is doing now with this blog post. Hindsight is always 20/20. Lord knows I’ve said a lot of things over the years that I wish I could have taken back. So, I am willing to cut Mark some slack.

            I’ve made my peace with the whole thing. I congratulate the investors and wish them all the best.

            There is, however, one big difference with the M. Shanken buyout of Malt Advocate, Inc. It’s two years later and I’m still here at the helm. Proudly!

  14. Tadas A. says:

    People like products made from love and passion. Bruichladdich has that. That will change going from small company where mentality is “let’s do it” (since there is no one else who will do it for you), to a large corporate culture based on rules, standards and this quarter’s financial numbers. My guess is that it will loose some of that folklore, but it does not mean that the quality will go down. Big guys also know how to make good stuff. Good luck to all of them.

    • Jim A says:

      I have met the current cellar master for Remy Martin. She exudes passion for the product, as much or more than the previous cellar masters. Remy Martin is tradition and excellence. This is something that separates Remy Cointreau from other major players in the industry.

      The biggest change to Bruichladdich that I can foresee is limiting the wide variety of styles currently available. Tradition and heritage will more than likely not change. RC will be dedicated to producing only the finest products. Seeing how they don’t have a white liquor in their portfolio, I’m pretty sure the addition of Botanist Gin played a large part in the decision making as well.

      • Tadas A. says:

        Thanks for giving more insights about Remy. Glad to hear that they have passionate cellar master. Because from public information there is little details. Their web site (www.remy-cointreau.com) is so $$$ (sorry €€€) oriented – stock price, financial communications, numbers, shareholder info… with passion sucked out of it.
        All Remy Martin cognacs are at the minimum 40% ABV even Louis XIII. I do not think they’ve even heard about barrel proof or single barrel cognacs. Do they have any of these expressions or higher proofs in the plans? They’ve had pretty much the same cognac line up (sans eau-de-vie V launched in 2010) for years while Laddie has a lot of new releases comming up all the time.

    • mongo says:

      i guess then people should stop loving lagavulin, talisker, clynelish and all the other distilleries that are owned by diageo and yet manage to retain their aura as cult distilleries.

      • Tadas A. says:

        Mongo, you cannot tell people what they should buy or stop buying. It is a free choice.
        The distileries you mentioned are part of big machine. Not independent. Company cultures are very different between huge conglomarate and privately owned company. But it does not mean that Diageo stopped producing great products.

        • mongo says:

          i think my point is that there are plenty of other distilleries to whom romance continues to accrue despite their being owned by other large conglomerates.

          for most people the relationship is with the whisky not the distillery. most of us have not been to scotland and never will make it to these distilleries. as long as the whisky is good we will be happy–no matter who owns it or what its story may be. and if the whisky is not as good as the story then i’m not that interested in the story.

          • mongo says:

            i’m unable to edit my comment but what i meant to say is “for most people the relationship is with the whisky not the company that owns the distillery”.

  15. Par Caldenby says:

    Tim, you’re right. From a business point of view it would not be sound to tell the truth about any on-going negotiations and all the more so from the perspective of Rémy. Thus, no-one should feel personally aggrieved by having been told what is actually (at least) less truthful words on the issue of selling the company. My work within dispute resolution would strongly confirm that telling anything about an on-going deal is a very, very bad idea indeed. — However, on a subjective point of view and for us as whisky enthusiasts, the feelings can still be mixed. In my case, the reason being that this is not just a cold hammered piece of technology that shall be sold, this is a product which is great, versatile, made with real passion and which gives us all a lot of pleasure. And the place is just like the product: great. There will be changes. I hope that they will not be for the negative, but for the better. However, there are likely to be some negative changes made. Which is sad. But, time will tell.

  16. thebitterfig says:

    I do find this a little depressing – Bruichladdich seemed to be the very model for, if not a whisky company, an island business. Large amounts of local sourcing of barley, bottling on the island, etc. striving to support the community of Islay as more than just a fancy word you can stick on a bottle of whisky to sell more bottles. However, cognac is pretty regionally linked, so I hope Remy Cointreau would have some sense of that.

    Let’s also look at the potential upside. Instead of R-C maybe crushing the spirit of Bruichladdich, let’s consider what good might happen if the spirit of Bruichladdich infects the rest of the company. Remy Martain Cognac and Mount Gay rum bounced up to 46% abv, nonchill filtered and no caramel? That’d rock, and it’d be worth putting up with all those dayglow teal bottles.

  17. B.J. Reed says:

    Sad day – I think Jim and Duncan will likely retire hopefully with a nice compensation package to go with them. I was just there in June with Duncan doing the tour (if you want to call what we do a tour) this time.

    The “in your face”, “take it or leave it” approach of Bruichladdich was so refreshing and the fact they took risks, were willing to make mistakes and keep on innovating made me love these guys. My first trip to the distillery was 2004 I think and I fell in love with the place. Next trip in 2007, then 2010 and now 2012 I never stopped appreciated how special the place is. We stopped at Tobermory on this same trip and Allison Brown gave us the tour there. She specifically mentioned how much she appreciated Bruichladdich because they employed 25 people and how important they were to the industry. There is going to be a deep sense of loss to folks like Allison Brown and those who publically or silently were routing for this renegade group of whisky risktakers.

  18. John Hansell says:

    I’ll offer my final comment here. I’m trying to be fair and understanding about this. Maybe I’ve been a little too hard on Mark. This was a decision by a group of investors, which includes Mark and dozens of others. It’s quite possible he and others like Jim McEwan didn’t even want to sell, but they got outvoted by the majority of the shareholders who did. If that’s the case, then I can’t give him too much of a hard time about what he said back in October about having no interest in selling. After all this debate, I’ve decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, put all this behind me, and move forward.

    So, Remy: let’s make some good Laddie whisky, okay?

    • Scribe says:

      Well said, John…it really comes down to the commitment to quality and innovation going forward…the best the could happen? An interview that you, John, could conduct with a key executive at Remy articulating their commitment to maintaining the quality and innovation that has been a hallmark of Bruichladdich! :)

    • two-bit cowboy says:

      Hi John,

      From your original post I was reminded not only of your sale to M. Shanken, but more specifically the “change” to Whisky Advocate and the discussion that brought.

      Most interesting to see you in the role of responder to change — a role, I must add, not unfamiliar to you.Your insight and thoughtful manner has again shown through.

      I also heartily agree with H.Diaz (@20).

      All the best,

      Bob

  19. scottiebruichladdich says:

    Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Your multi million dollar buy out. Who? remy-cointreau with a war chest of cash from selling thier wine business and finding a jewel in the rough and the most progressive distillery out there. Is it for sale? Isn’t everything for the right price?
    The Bruichladdich shareholders have been a loyal bunch for 12 years not taking a single penny out of the business and rolling the profits from each year back into the distillery to help seed growth. So this must have been one helluva offer to gain their vote and confidence.
    More to come in the next weeks ahead…

  20. H.Diaz says:

    This is great. This is what I’ve been missing. These are the kinds of topics that keep me checking in every morning. We, meaning the majority of us, don’t get to see or hear the goings-ons behind the business scenes. I love it. Lately, things have been a little slow and humdrum. More fireworks, please.

  21. Ursula Mueller says:

    The news about the impending sale of Bruichladdich made me very sad (actually, it ruined my whole week). What about the company philosophy? Bruichladdich’s whole brand strategy has been build on just splendid independence and freedom from global coporate influence. They deliberately created an underdog image, a true alternative to what otherwise happens on the whisky market: “Read our lips, we will always stay free from global corporate influence”. Now we customers know better, it was just a smart marketing gimmick. However, Bruichladdichs customers are smart, too. They won’t be fooled twice. It is no good idea to betray someone’s trust so profoundly, neither in private nor in business relationships. Just my wee two cents.

  22. David OG says:

    The real sadness of losing Bruichladdich’s independence is not the potential for a decline in quality, but the inevitable focus on efficiency that we see with nearly all other conglomerated distilleries. One of Bruichladdich’s most endearing and respectable qualities has been its commitment to the local community. While I’m not implying that Remy-C won’t have the same commitment, I am certain that running your business this way is incredibly expensive. Little Bruichladdich employs more people than any other distillery on Islay and more than most on the mainland. If you run it like the rest, you automate and eliminate until you’ve got three guys manning the mash and the stills and a couple running the front of the house. This will be a huge blow to the local economy and would cause an incredible backlash toward the brand from retailers like myself that fell in love with the whisky not only for its quality, but also its commitment to the community and environment it inhabits. Indeed, I hope the Remy Cointreau factor in the incredible loss in cache their takeover represents for a carefully crafted anti-corporate image, exemplified by their famous tagline, “proudly independent.” Will Bruichladdich’s new catch phrase just be, “proud?” It doesn’t sound like an easy task the R-C marketing department. I personally hold no ill will for my dear friends at Bruichladdich, being mislead is sometimes part of this business and I do not fault them for keeping their cards close to chest. I’m excited to see what happens next. With any luck, Remy will not screw things up, nor seek out redundancy at the cobbled together masterpiece that has become Bruichladdich. Maybe a little extra capital won’t hurt the place, as the floors always need a new coat of paint, but if extreme care is not taken with preserving the legacy, there’s going to be hell to pay. There’s no question that there will be some serious love lost for the diehard progressives. Needless to say the negotiations are ongoing…

  23. RN says:

    Hard working people improved Bruichladdich. Better that they had, and capitalized on that, than to have never bothered.

  24. lawschooldrunk says:

    Newest Bruichladdich release: Bruichladdich Sellout.

    Aged for 10 years in an empty bank account.

    Nose: Stinks. Like money.

    Palate: Stale; like history repeating itself. Lackluster, yet unsurprising.

    Finish: Yep; they’re finished.

  25. Michael G. Jackson (Utah, USA) says:

    Part of what has made Bruichladdich so compelling to many of us, beyond the excitement and high quality of the product(s), is the identity that has been shaped since re-opening. This includes the “proudly independent,” and also the distinctive methods and even equipment that goes into the creation of the whisky. My last (of 5) visits was this past June, and the welcome we received was amazing and so deeply personal and warm. Passion, along with a powerful advocacy for the well-being of the Islay community has always been a big priority, and this has captured my loyalty. Jim has said that his retirement would be on 1 Aug. 2013, marking 50 years in the industry. What massive contributions he has made to his industry, the island, and to so many friends world-wide whose lives he has enriched, including my own. “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

    • Ursula Mueller says:

      “Jim has said that his retirement would be on 1 Aug. 2013, marking 50 years in the industry.”

      Sounds like a bold statement. Would have been a great day to step down – what a lifetime achievement! But what happens when Remy-Cointreau takes over soon? Will he stay put in the new company one more year? As the new owner, RC plans to use the Port Charlotte site to “expand capacity”. To the contrary, Jim once envisioned the Port Charlotte site becoming the new splendid home of his “Wunderkind” Port Charlotte. Can you see him looking on helplessly how RC turns over the same site into a bulk good plant? I have my doubts. That said, I I’d like to express my deep gratitude to Jim McEwan and his comrades that they gave us such otherwordly treasures. The good spirits rejoiced in their work and have been with them all the way. Deep kudos to the people of Bruichladdich who risked everything and poured out all their love to create such a shining beauty that Bruichladdich was. It has been a real fairytale story, a wonderful dream, too good to be true.

      • mongo says:

        what “otherworldly treasures” did bruichladdich give us in the last 10 years? they gave us a lot of dodgy to mediocre whisky in brightly coloured tubes from the inherited stock, some interesting experiments with very high peating levels in their own new whisky, and a few pretty good to great whiskies (the infinity 3 comes to mind). granted i only tried a small fraction of what they put out but which of the whiskies they created in the last 10 years would you describe as “otherworldly treasures”?

        • Ursula Mueller says:

          Port Charlotte (from PC5 an on), the Ueber-Provenance line (Islay Barley), the Octomore line (Orpheus and Comus in particular), the Black Art project (BA I – III). I have been especially looking forward to the upcoming Biodynamic whisky (first in his class). X4 is also an exciting project. Which destillery has put out such many different whisky characters in such quality, all in their own right? I see their playfulness, variety and creativity as a strength, not a weakness. A big player like Remy Cointreau willl have their difficulties with the Biodynamic and Islay Barley lines, these cannot be produced for a mass market. That said, Infinity 3 is the only of Bruichladdichs whiskies I tasted (there are many I haven’t tasted yet) and did not like…

          • mongo says:

            “otherworldly” is very high praise. i’d reserve it for a very small fraction of whiskies.

            i think i would say that pc8 is an excellent whisky. i wouldn’t go so far for pc6 and 7. pc5 i have not tried, but there are very few enthusiastic reports of it; and i have not yet cracked open my bottle of pc9. similarly, i’d say that comus is quite good but far from otherworldly. i have not tried orpheus or the black art series–perhaps these are even better than most people say they are..

          • mongo says:

            but to each her own.

        • Ursula Mueller says:

          … and don’t forget the fantastic (award-winning) Gin! :-)

        • Ursula Mueller says:

          … even here, Remy Cointreau will get headaches, as it cannot be produced in high quantities without compromising quality. It includes – amongst others ingredients – 22 different handpicked wild botanicals from Islay. Impossible to mass produce this gin.

  26. [...] still catching up on all the whisky news, being on vacation last week and then all the Bruichladdich happenings earlier this week. You may have seen some of this information floating around, but in [...]

  27. Mike says:

    If Remy outright purchases The Laddy, that will be a strange “partnership” unless the written agreement is well crafted. The Laddy whisky might remain the same, but The Laddy will not and that’s a shame.

  28. [...] have gotten a bit serious here of late, what with all the Van Winkle Bourbon source talk and the Bruichladdich sell-out discussions. So, to balance this with a less serious side of whisky, I offer this link to a video about how [...]

  29. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    it is done, well almost.

    http://www.bruichladdich.com/blog/the-best-laid-plans

    Greetings
    kallaskander

    • Johanna says:

      “Having only re-affirmed our 2014 denouement strategy at a January 2012 board meeting, along came Rémy Cointreau…”

      Well Mark, I guess if one knocks on enough doors, eventually one opens for you…

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