Sipsmith co-founder Sam Galsworthy on Beam Suntory Deal

20 December 2016

Last week Beam Suntory acquired a controlling interest in London distiller Sipsmith. We caught up with co-founder Sam Galsworthy to find out how the deal affects Sipsmith in the UK, as well as the team at the distillery in Chiswick.

Sam Galsworthy
Sam Galsworthy

The deal, it seems, will primarily affect Sipsmith in its export markets. In the UK, it's business as usual, and Sipsmith won't be joining Maxxium, Beam Suntory and Edrington's sales, marketing and distribution business in the UK.

'We're ringfencing the UK, and we'll remain in charge of decision making. We remain the strategists,' Galsworthy told Imbibe. 'In the UK we're not expecting investment in marketing or anything like that.'

Outside the UK, it'll be a different story. 'We've been building an army of advocates overseas. Now it's time for us to go meaningfully into these places,' Galsworthy explained. 'We'll be mentored globally, and can go through Beam Suntory's network globally. We'll be growing at a lightning pace.'

What does that mean for the spirits themselves? 'The way it was made on 14 March 2009 - in 20 or 50 years' time, that's the way it will be made. We're never going to change the methodology,' he added. 'We might need more pots, or more hands, but we were always going to increase our capacity. It'll just be faster now.'

Galsworthy also stressed the importance of the team at the distillery when negotiating with Beam Suntory. 'We've been able to conclude a really exciting financial benefit for the team, so they will experience what it would have been like if they owned shares,' he said. 'And there's a five-year plan that looks like options.'

'We love what this category represents,' concluded Galsworthy. 'History will shine a cool light on this window of time.'

Related articles

Spirits & Cocktails

Sipsmith acquired by Beam Suntory

Pioneering London distillery Sipsmith has been bought by Beam Suntory, with founders Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall remaining in control of operation

Spirits & Cocktails

Maxxium UK rebrands as Edrington-Beam Suntory UK

Maxxium UK – distributor of Courvoisier, Macallan and The Famous Grouse – is getting a name change to reflect the long-term partnership between Edring

Spirits & Cocktails

Suntory brings its blended whisky Toki to the UK

Japanese whisky giant Suntory has finally brought Toki, its newest blended whisky product, to the UK following its launch in the US in 2016.Made with

Spirits & Cocktails

Alex Lawrence and Tristan Stephenson headline Jim Beam bartender school

Across May and June this year, Jim Beam is hosting a brand new UK bartender engagement programme, called Jim Beam Presents: Class of 2018.Bringing Ame