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Drambuie acquired by William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons has confirmed the addition of whisky-based liqueur brand Drambuie to its portfolio, with the announcement of its acquisition of the Drambuie Liqueur Company Limited.

According to the premium spirits business and independent Scottish family distillers, Drambuie is a logical extension to its existing range of premium spirits, which includes Glenfiddich and The Balvenie single malt Scotch whiskies, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey, Grant’s blended Scotch whisky, Hendrick’s gin and Sailor Jerry spiced rum.

The deal, estimated to be worth in the region of £100 million, brings to a conclusion months of speculation as to the fate of the liqueur brand, which had been in the hands of the MacKinnon family since Malcolm MacKinnon acquired the recipe and trademark in 1914 from the previous owner on the Isle of Skye.

William Grant & Sons’ chief executive Stella David says: “We have a passion and a reputation for nurturing and building brands. Drambuie is a natural fit for our portfolio, it has a very rich history and a great story to tell and we are delighted to be in a position to start to re-engage with existing drinkers and to connect the brand with an entirely new generation of consumers.”

Drambuie is a blend of aged Scotch whisky, spices and heather honey, which found fame particularly in the 1950s as the key ingredient of the Rusty Nail cocktail favoured by the Rat Pack.

With a history dating back to 1745, the original recipe for Drambuie is said to have been passed directly by Bonnie Prince Charlie to clan chief John MacKinnon, in gratitude for the clan’s protection following the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden in 1746.

Drambuie CEO Michael Kennedy adds: “We are pleased to complete this process with William Grant & Sons, a company who holds true those family values which will help nurture Drambuie to begin its next chapter of growth.”

As part of the William Grant & Sons stable of brands, Kennedy believes Drambuie can “truly achieve its potential” through being part of a larger and more diverse organisation.

A family spokesperson for William Grant & Sons comments: "We have always been secret admirers of Drambuie. We are very grateful to the MacKinnon family for entrusting the future of this iconic brand to our family, and we will do our best to make them proud in the decades ahead."

15 September 2014 - David Longfield