Who Owns What in Whisky

Who Owns What in Whisky

(Click to enlarge)

American Public Media’s Marketplace created an interesting graphic last week, a chart that shows which conglomerate owns which whiskies. Knowing what I do about whiskies, it’s obvious that they started the chart with the four big companies on the left (Pernod Ricard, Diageo, Suntory, and Brown-Forman) and simply listed their owned brands on the right.

That’s the only reason why you could possibly exclude the Edrington Group and its ownership of popular brands like The Macallan, Highland Park and The Famous Grouse. Macallan is one of the most well-recognized single malt scotches and The Famous Grouse is is one of the most popular, and Highland Park is a fine name as well.

How about William Grant & Sons? Owners of Glenfiddich and Balvenie, two of my favorites. (can I get some love for the Balvenie DoubleWood?)

Oh, and let’s not forget the enormous United Spirits Limited, which is Indian based, and owners of The Dalmore, Jura, and Whyte & Mackay.

Finally, how they built the chart is also why you don’t see a lot of independent brands on the right, companies like D Johnston & Company (owners of Laphroaig) and

That said, this trend of big conglomerates buying up smaller companies (or simply merging with other large companies) is not unique to whisky. Or beverages.

It’s everywhere.


(Click to enlarge), from Reddit

Personally, I have no preference. I like what I like and I’ll continue to buy more of it, whether they’re independently owned distilleries or ones owned by conglomerates. I’m pretty sure I have a bias towards the whisky distributed by conglomerates because that’s simply what I’m able to find in stores in the United States.

If you have a favorite “small” distillery not (yet) owned by a conglomerate, let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Who Owns What in Whisky

  1. Jim,

    For the most part the acquisitions are meaningless to the men who ply the craft. Personally I believe the boardroom has no place in the halls of distilleries or in breweries. One thing is certain though the personality does change a bit once the mergers take place, but while that maybe a good thing, it puts the family owned small businesses out of the market or at least limits them in some manner. That is why I like Glenfarclas so much is because they are a family affair and have been so since 1839. And when the owner to be answers his own emails I would say that bodes well for the client So Glenfarclas will always be # 1 on my list regardless of what I may buy at the time. I am hoping that my wife’s cousins who live in England will come through with a bottle when they come for a visit to Maryland this summer. Anyhow, cheers!


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