Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Diageo

Recommended Posts

cowdery

I keep returning to this thread as people add new comments about new topics, but since I keep seeing Linn's original question, it occurred to me that it was never fully answered. Greg's answer covered the Grand Met side pretty much. I don't know a lot about Guinness itself, except what we all know. What I can contribute is a little bit about United Distillers, which was the spirits side of Guinness.

In Europe, Johnny Walker was driving the UD bus. In the US, the name to know was Schenley, which was assembled during Prohibition by Lewis Rosentiel, starting with a small Pennsylvania rye producer of that name. After acquiring several other Pennsylvania distilleries he bought his first Kentucky plant, George T. Stagg, which is today's Buffalo Trace. Many other distilleries all over the U.S. were subsequently acquired, including Bernheim in Louisville. Schenley even briefly owned the Blatz Brewing Company.

In addition to the U.S. spirits products it made and sold, Schenley was an importer, with Dewars Scotch as its biggest import brand. Schenley was sold in 1968, then sold several more times in subsequent years, until Guinness bought it in the 1980s. In swift succession, Guinness also bought Stitzel-Weller and Glenmore (which had itself bought Flieshmann and Medley) and merged them all together under the United Distillers name.

This left the combined company with a lot of brands, many of which it immediately sold off, mostly to Heaven Hill, Sazerac and David Sherman. Sound familiar? Those were the buyers in 1997 when Guinness merged with Grand Met to form Diageo, prompting another brand sell-off. The same thing is being repeated now, with Diageo's acquisition of Seagrams.

It's easy to look at a story like this and see it as a huge consolidation, leaving many smaller companies in the dust. It is that, but it is also the story of smaller companies finding niches and picking up the pieces. Brands that weren't viable for a giant like Diageo can be viable for smaller companies like Heaven Hill, David Sherman and Sazerac.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kitzg

well stated Chuck. I was hoping you'd comment on the UD side.

-- Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kitzg

I do agree with your point. I can't imagine a premixed martini! But hang out here in a college town and you'll see how much money can be made selling to drinkers who don't know and don't care....

-- Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Thanks for your input Chuck. The results of the Seagram's deal will be very instructive as to the final dispositions of the distilleries they acquire.

I seem to have misplaced my research into the Dickel/Diageo situation. But one interesting item was a northern vodka plant that they recently shutdown throwing over three hundred people out of work. Given the current recession this may have been unavoidable.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...