Stock Spirits make Irish Whiskey investment
Stock Spirits Group PLC (“Stock Spirits” or the “Company”), is pleased to announce that it has entered into agreements with Quintessential Brands Group (“Quintessential Brands”) for the acquisition of a 25% equity interest in Quintessential Brands Ireland Whiskey Limited (“QBIW”) for a cash consideration of up to €18.3m (the “Investment”).
QBIW, which owns The Dublin Liberties® and The Dubliner Irish Whiskey® brands, is the Irish whiskey business of Quintessential Brands. These brands comprise a range of ultra-premium through to standard Irish whiskey products which are currently on sale in over 30 countries, with in excess of 32,000 9L cases sold in the 12 months to 31 March 2017. The Dubliner Irish Whiskey has just become the fastest growing Irish whiskey globally*. QBIW is currently building The Dublin Liberties Distillery in the centre of Dublin, a state-of-the-art distillery which will also include a visitor and brand experience centre. Stock Spirits’ Investment in QBIW will be primarily used to complete the construction of The Dublin Liberties Distillery, accelerate advertising and promotional investment in the brands, and to finance working capital and stock maturation.
The Investment is in line with Stock Spirits’ stated strategy of expanding its portfolio through strategic investments and bolt-on acquisitions in order to enhance shareholder value. Whiskey is the second largest spirits category globally behind vodka and, within the whiskey category, Irish whiskey has been the fastest growing segment since 2007*. Whiskey is also the fastest growing category in Stock Spirits’ key markets of Poland and Czech Republic*, and this Investment will allow the Company to capitalise on this trend.
Prior to the Investment, QBIW was a 100% owned subsidiary of Quintessential Brands, an independent spirits business which owns, manages, markets and distributes a portfolio of high-quality spirits brands internationally from manufacturing operations in the UK, Ireland and France. Post the Investment, Quintessential Brands will continue to provide blending and bottling services, as well as sales and marketing support; Stock Spirits will be entitled to nominate two of the five directors on the board of QBIW.
The transaction is expected to be earnings enhancing to shareholders in year four; the distillery will take one year to complete and as maturation of Irish whiskey takes at least 3 years, the benefits will flow in year four from own produced liquid and accelerated investment behind the brands in the early years. The assets and results of QBIW will be equity-accounted for post the Investment.
Consideration will comprise an initial cash payment of €15m for the 25% equity interest, and a deferred cash consideration of up to €3.3m which is payable over a five year period. The deferred consideration will be subject to certain performance conditions. Stock Spirits will finance both the initial and deferred cash consideration, if payable, using undrawn debt facilities.
As at 31 March 2017, QBIW, which historically was only the land holding company and did not include the brands, had gross assets of €2.3m and did not trade in the year. Since then, the trade and assets of the brands have been transferred into QBIW, having previously sat within other Quintessential Brands subsidiaries.
Following the Investment, key members of QBIW’s existing management team, including Darryl McNally (General Manager and Master Distiller), Colin O’Neill (CFO) and Sinead O’Frighil (Marketing Director) will continue in their current roles. In addition, Enzo Visone and Warren Scott, Co-Founders of Quintessential Brands, will remain part of the executive management team of QBIW.
Commenting on the news, Mirek Stachowicz, Chief Executive of Stock Spirits, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Quintessential Brands in an exciting Irish whiskey business and to be adding these outstanding brands to our portfolio. We have already developed strong whiskey category management capabilities courtesy of our distribution agreements with our agency partners, and see these brands as being highly complementary to that platform. We see significant potential for the brands globally, including in our core markets of Poland and Czech Republic, and are confident that they will complement our strong market positions in vodka, herbal bitters, brandy and limoncello. We are hopeful that this will be the start of a long and fruitful working relationship with Quintessential Brands.”
Commenting on the announcement Quintessential Brands Group co-founder Warren Scott said: “This investment and partnership with Stock Spirits comes at the beginning of a very exciting next phase of the development for our Irish whiskies. We are a brand-led business and both The Dublin Liberties and The Dubliner Irish Whiskey have developed great traction in more than 30 markets with significant potential for further growth and range expansion in the coming years. We are delighted to be working with Stock Spirits, and towards the completion of the Dublin Liberties Distillery which will be a home for the brands and an exciting new visitor experience in the heart of Dublin”.
*Source: International Wine & Spirit Research (“IWSR”) 2017
This announcement contains inside information which is disclosed in accordance with the Market Abuse Regulation.
For further information:-
Stock Spirits Group: +44 (0) 1628 648 500
Mirek Stachowicz, Chief Executive Officer
Lesley Jackson, Chief Financial Officer
Powerscourt: +44 (0) 207 250 1446
About Quintessential Brands
The Quintessential Brands Group delivers a diverse portfolio of quality international spirits with unrivalled heritage and craftsmanship. Founded in 2011 by Enzo Visone, former CEO of Gruppo Campari, and former investment banker, Warren Scott, The Quintessential Brands Group is made up of the Quintessential Brands Company; G&J Distillers, the world’s oldest gin distiller; Essential Drinks Company, the businessto-business supply division; Marblehead, the UK brand agency; L&L in France, a leading manufacturer of fruit spirits and liqueurs and Quintessential Brands Ireland, which includes First Ireland Spirits and The Dublin Liberties Distillery.
Quintessential Brands portfolio includes Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin, BLOOM London Dry Gin, Thomas Dakin Small Batch Gin, Berkeley Square London Dry Gin, and Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin, which are all produced by G&J Distillers. The Dubliner Irish Whiskey, The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil and Copper Alley Irish Whiskies, Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur and O’Mara’s Irish Country Cream. Alizé Passion Liqueurs, Toussaint Coffee Rum Liqueur and Baron Clovignac Cognac.