Amber Beverage Group (ABG), a leading producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages, has acquired Irish whiskey company Walsh Whiskey for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is effect from today (11 November) with the existing management and staff remaining in place.
Walsh Whiskey, founded in 1999 by husband-and-wife team, Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, has played a part in the revival of Irish whiskey over the past two decades. The Irishman, the company’s original brand, is a suite of nine single malt-led whiskeys. Writers’ Tears is a range of eight pot-still-focused whiskeys. Both brands will join the ABG core brands portfolio.
The Irishman and Writers’ Tears are currently sold in over 50 countries. With ABG’s current reach into 185 countries, it said, further expansion of these super-premium brands is expected.
In a statement, the companies said the move “combines complementary strengths – Walsh Whiskey’s expertise in crafting fine Irish whiskey, combined with strong distribution partners, and ABG’s marketing and distribution strength across the world”.
ABG said that this is a “strategically significant move” as it continues its growth as a global spirits company. The acquisition is also the group’s first entry into the fast-growing Irish whiskey sector – a category that it noted has outperformed other spirits categories in the past decade, with sales growth of +140% from 2010 to 2020.
Walsh Whiskey Co-Founder Bernard Walsh will continue as Managing Director. He said: “We are delighted to embark on a new phase of growth as part of Amber Beverage Group. Given the underlying strengths of our brands and of the long-term trajectory of Irish whiskey, this is a logical next step for us, providing a means of scaling up the business so that a greater number of consumers have the opportunity to participate in the search for the perfect drop or ‘taoscán’ of whiskey.
“I will continue to oversee all aspects of the business and in particular the development and production of our whiskeys, ensuring continuity of the same flavour profiles and high standards that have been the foundation of our success. Our talented team is excited by the greater opportunities that come from being part of Amber Beverage Group. I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the role that our dedicated team has played in helping make Walsh Whiskey the success it is today.”
ABG CEO Jekaterina Stuģe said: “This is a major step for us as a company. We already own and bottle 100 brands as well as distributing and selling more than 1,300 third-party brands. This is the first time we have entered into the whiskey sector and we are particularly pleased that ABG is now part of the consistently high-growth story that is the super-premium end of the Irish whiskey market. We are thrilled to add this category to our portfolio by welcoming Walsh Whiskey into our group. We look forward to working with Bernard and the team, whose knowledge of the Irish whiskey sector will prove invaluable to us as we develop.”
Amber Beverage Group (ABG) core brands are Moskovskaya Vodka, KAH Tequila, Riga Black Balsam, Rooster Rojo tequila, Cross Keys Gin and Cosmopolitan Diva. ABG produces, bottles, markets, distributes, exports and retails a comprehensive range of beverages of which it owns more than 100 and is responsible for marketing and distributing 1,300 third-party drinks brands, spanning premium vodka and sparkling wines to speciality Mexican tequilas.
It operates internationally from its head office in Luxembourg and through its production and distribution companies in Russia, Mexico, the UK, Austria, Australia and the Baltics, its historical home. ABG is a producer of many private label beverages across most categories, in over 20 markets.