A leading whisky expert believes the Japanese acquisition of Jim Beam and Canadian Club whisky will be a good thing for Canadian whisky distillers.
Suntory Holdings Ltd. bought Beam, the maker of Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbons along with other liquor brands, for approximately $13.62 billion.
Canadian Club is distilled in Windsor and popular in Japan, according to Davin de Kergommeaux, author of Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert and the man behind CanadianWhisky.org
“Canadian Club is pretty solid there. And with their links with Suntory now, I think they’ll maintain and increase their position,” de Kergommeaux said. “Whisky is huge in Japan. It’s something they drink socially and drink in business. Asia is taking a lot of the whiskey made in North America.”
De Kergommeaux said Canadian whiskey exports are up 25 per cent over the last 12 months.
“In the last couple years the quality of Canadian Club has really, really improved,” de Kergommeaux said. “I suspect Suntory will leave them alone to continue what they started.”
Suntory has its own portfolio of spirits, with whiskies including Yamazaki and Hakushu as well as Midori liqueur and other beverages.
“I think we’re going to see a lot more Japanese whisky coming into the Canadian market,” de Kergommeaux said.