Jim Beam Acquired By Japanese, Will American Liquor Have Recipes Changed?

Patrick Frye

With Jim Beam acquired by a Japanese company, where does that leave American liquor?

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Jim Beam acquired both Pinnacle vodka and Calico Jack rum for $605 million back in 2012.

Acquisitions seems to be the way to grow, since Jim Beam bought women-focused brand Skinnygirl, a line of drinks created by television personality Bethenny Frankel. Beam Inc, also acquired Irish-whiskey maker Cooley Distillery for $95 million.

Exports of US whiskey have grown to be a $1 billion plus industry, with the last 10 years seeing a 26 percent growth. The purchase of Jim Beam by Suntory will make the combined company the third largest premium spirits business in the world. Suntory is also the owner of Orangina Schweppes Group and GlaxoSmith Kline's Lucozade and Ribena drinks. The deal cost $13.62 billion and shares of Beam, Inc. rose by 24 percent when investors heard the news.

So where does this leave American alcohol companies? The good news is that although Suntory had Jim Beam acquired they plan on letting the company continue "business as usual" and "keep doing what we're doing." This is important because drink fans will often notice when something is amiss. For example, when various German beer brands suddenly switched to being brewed in America the fans immediately took notice even though the companies claimed they were using the same recipes. Jim Beam once threatened to lower the alcohol content in Maker's Mark, but the backlash prevented it.

These type of acquisitions have also reduced the percent of American ownership in supposedly American brands. The most famous example was in 2008 when InBev, the Belgium-based owner of Beck's and Stella Artois, acquired Anheuser-Busch in a $52 billion hostile takeover. This combined AB InBev then went on to swallow Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo for billions. They even own brewers out of Russia, China, and South America. So, yeah, a previously American company is now a conglomerate of various nationalities.

And that's not the only big one. Miller Brewing Company is owned by South African Breweries, a company out of Johannesburg, South Africa. The good news is that Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, who are behind Samuel Adams and other popular brands, is still American owned and operated.

With Jim Beam acquired by the Japanese, what do you think will happen with American liquor?