Veteran businessman John Teeling has said the $16 billion acquisition of Beam, the parent of his old business Cooley Distillery, by Japanese drinks giant Suntory Holdings will help Irish whiskey crack the difficult Japanese market.
Mr Teeling told The Irish Times he welcomed family-owned Suntory Holdings acquiring Cooley and said he believed it would bring a "missionary zeal," to marketing Irish whiskey in Japan.
“This can only be good for everybody,” Mr Teeling said. “Suntory is a fabulous family-owned company who think long-term.”
“They love Irish whiskey and they previously spoke to Cooley about buying us before Beam got in before them,” he added.
Mr Teeling sold Louth distillery Cooley to Beam for $95 million in 2011.
Teeling has since decided to build a new distillery in Dundalk while his son Jack is focussing on launching a new whiskey brand in Dublin.
The businessman said he would take over the plant for his new distillery in Dundalk from Diageo on April 1st and he hopes to go into production in the third quarter of this year.
He said he held talks with various distribution partners to grow his new business but had not closed a deal yet.
Suntory’s acquisition of Cooley, he said, made it unlikely it would compete with his new distillery which will focus on making own-brand whiskey. It would be good, he said, for his son’s business as it would introduce more people in the Far East to the merits of Irish whiskey.