Brown-Forman Sells Early Times, Collingwood & Canadian Mist to Sazerac

Brown-Forman Corporation has announced that it has reached an agreement to sell the Early Times, Canadian Mist, and Collingwood brands, and the Canadian Mist production assets, to Sazerac Company.

In addition to Early Times Brown-Forman owns Old Forester BourbonWoodford Reserve Bourbon and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Sazerac is parent company to Buffalo Trace Distillery and Barton 1792 Distillery which together own brands like Pappy Van Winkle, E.H. Taylor, W.L. Weller, George Stagg and more.

“Early Times and Canadian Mist have been valued brands in our portfolio for many years, and they each have played significant roles in our company’s history,” said Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer, Brown-Forman Corporation. “We are thankful to all the people who have distilled, bottled, shipped, marketed, and distributed these brands with care over the years.”

This sale reflects the continued evolution of the company’s portfolio strategy to focus on premium brands. Brown-Forman has actively managed the shape and contents of its portfolio over the last decade and a half through developing, acquiring, and divesting various businesses and brands. The company believes this portfolio management, alongside innovation, will allow it to continue to focus on the best growth prospects and value creation over the long term.

Early Times, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, was the first brand Brown-Forman purchased in 1923. Canadian Mist joined its portfolio in 1971 and was the company’s first production operations outside of the United States.

Established in 1860, Early Times® Kentucky Whisky is the epitome of good, honest American whisky at its best. Early Times’ proprietary formula and unique aging process create a smooth, flavorful, easy-to-drink whisky. Because it is so mellow, it is easy to drink both straight and mixed.

Today, it’s sold in over 40 countries and is the 7th largest unflavored whiskey in the United States.

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“We are delighted to acquire such iconic brands as well as the Canadian Mist Distillery,” said Mark Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sazerac Company. “Brown-Forman has done an excellent job building these brands over the years and we expect to invest in the brands and grow their sales in the coming years.”

The sale of these brands is expected to close later this summer. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP advised Brown-Forman in this transaction. Cooley LLP provided legal advice to Sazerac.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Q: Is Early Times a Whiskey or a Bourbon? 
A: Yes and no. The answer has changed many times over the 160 years of the brand. For the most part Early Times is not a bourbon mainly because its been aged in used barrels. There are however versions that are bourbon. In 2017 the company released Early Times Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey which as the name says is Bourbon. So, now you know!

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