The answer if you are a shareholder of Bruichladdich then yes it is a fantastic deal! Purchased in 2000 for just over six and half million pounds and sold 12 years later for fifty eight million it is hard even for the hard core whisky romantic to understand the shareholders temptation to sell at 20 times EBITA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization). There are currently rumours circulating on whisky forums that the sale had one sole objector on the board Bruichladdich’s MD Mark Reynier. This will be some consolation for the whisky romantics that not everyone has their price and there some out there who stick to their whisky ideals.
The question remains however is it a good deal for Remy Cointreau? There is little debate that Remy have paid over the odds but Remy are cash rich and so it does not affect them greatly. The problem whisky enthusiast see with the deal is that ‘The Laddie’ has fiercely marketed itself as the ‘independent’ ‘daring’ and ‘different’ whisky distillery. This has appealed to the whisky drinkers romantic ideas of the remote Scottish whisky distillery run by a club of enthusiasts (which it effectively was) who cared only about the quality of their product. It is going to be difficult for Remy (global drinks giant) to retain the brand image which Bruichladdich has built up. The loyal Bruichladdich drinkers will be dismayed as a large part of their buying decision was based on notion of the independent distillery and not buying from the ‘evil empires’ such as Diageo. In reality the romanticism can be over cooked, has Diageo’s decision to relocate Johnnie Walker had much impact on Global sales? No. It is more likely that Remy will open up new un-tapped markets for Bruichladdich even if it loses a few of the hard-core.