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.
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.'