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Sazerac acquires Popcorn Sutton Distillery

Published 23 December 2016

Sazerac has acquired the Popcorn Sutton Distillery in Newport, Tennessee, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition allows Sazerac to enter Tennessee whisky market.

In an interview to Mail Online, Sazerac’s spokeswoman Amy Preske noted that American whisky market is evolving and there could be further ‘whisky style’ segmentation within the category. She also noted that Tennessee whisky could be a part of this evolution.

Presently, it plans to produce Tennessee whisky from early 2017 after the upgrades at Popcorn Sutton facility are completed. It plans to modify the distillery’s pot stills.

However, neither a brand name has been selected by Sazerac, nor has a time-frame been fixed to launch the brand.

Sazerac president and CEO Mark Brown said: "We see a lot of potential in the distilling capabilities of this operation."

As per WhiskyCast, Sazerac has only purchased Popcorn Sutton’s distillery in Newport, Tennessee and not its brands.

Sazerac noted that all the employees at the Tennessee facility including master distiller John Lunn and master blender Allisa Henley will be retained.

The company opines that Lunn and Henley can add their experience of distillation work at George Dickel Tennessee whisky.

In the recent times, Sazerac has been on a buying spree, acquiring brands such as Pernod Ricard’s Fris Vodka, Southern Comfort and Tuaca from Brown-Forman, The Last Drop Distillers, The Michael Collins Irish Whiskey brand and distributors in Australia and the UK.

The company plans to tap into the growing market of American whiskies. According to Mail Online, in 2015, the combined revenues for bourbon, Tennessee and rye whiskies reached      $2.9bn with 7.9% increase.