Sazerac acquires Early Times From Brown-Forman


June 15, 2020

Fred’s hot take on what this means to the current whiskey climate.

In what may be the first domino of the economic fallout of the Pandemic, Sazerac acquired Early Times and other prominent whiskey brands from Brown-Forman.

Sazerac also owns 1792 and Buffalo Trace products, giving the parent company a deep arsenal of American whiskey. The parent company has a strong contemporary history of acquiring brands, having purchased Weller in the 1990s and Old Taylor in the 2000s. Neither products performed well at the time of acquisition, but Sazerac turned them around into American whiskey staples.

Brown-Forman announced the acquisition in a press release this morning. The press release included Canadian Mist, Collingwood brands and production assets. A Sazerac source told me the assets include the Canadian Mist Distillery, Canadian Mist, Collingwood, Early Times brands and assets, and barrel aging stocks related to brands..

“Early Times and Canadian Mist have been valued brands in our portfolio for many years, and they each have played significant roles in our company’s history,” said Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer, Brown-Forman Corporation. “We are thankful to all the people who have distilled, bottled, shipped, marketed, and distributed these brands with care over the years.”

This sale reflects the continued evolution of the company’s portfolio strategy to focus on premium brands, Brown-Forman said.

Early Times, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, was the first brand Brown-Forman purchased in 1923. Canadian Mist joined its portfolio in 1971 and was the company’s first production operations outside of the United States.

The sale of these brands is expected to close later this summer.

Terms were not immediately disclosed.