Walsh Whiskey, which is behind the Irishman and Writers' Tears brands, has been acquired by Amber Beverage Group for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in Co Carlow in 1999 by husband-and-wife team, Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, the company’s brands are sold in over 50 countries.
While no deal value has been disclosed, informed sources indicated it could be on a par achieved when Irish Distillers sold Paddy to Sazerac in 2016 for an estimated €90 million. Sources pointed to the long-standing production deal Walsh has with the Jameson producer and its strong distribution network.
Under the agreement, Mr Walsh is to stay on as managing director amid plans to expand distribution of the brands to many more markets.
“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,” he said.
The deal comes nearly three years after the company effectively split into two following a disagreement with Illva Saronna. The Italian drinks giant, whose products include Tia Maria, invested €25 million in Walsh Whiskey for a 50 per cent stake in the business in 2013 with a distillery opening in Carlow three years later.
However, in January 2019 Walsh Whiskey said amid differences on how to develop the business, a decision had been made to separate the brands from the distillery, which has since rebranded as Royal Oak Distillery.
Amber, which is headquartered in Luxembourg, owns more than100 brands and distributes some 1,300 third-party drinks brands across 185 countries.
“This is the first time we have entered into the whiskey sector and we are particularly pleased that Amber Beverage Group is now part of the consistently high-growth story that is the super-premium end of the Irish whiskey market,” said chief executive Jekaterina Stuge.