Amber Beverage Group expands into high-growth Irish whiskey sector with Walsh Whiskey acquisition
The global producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages, Amber Beverage Group (ABG), has announced that it has acquired the Irish Whiskey company, Walsh Whiskey, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition takes effect from 11 November 2021 with the existing management and staff remaining in place.
Walsh Whiskey, founded in 1999 by husband-and-wife team, Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, has two critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning brands: The Irishman and Writers’ Tears. The brands are sold in over 50 countries. It is anticipated that, with ABG’s current reach into 185 countries, there will be further expansion of these super-premium brands which are leaders in the Irish whiskey renaissance. Both companies have strong marketing capabilities and the move combines complementary strengths namely - Walsh Whiskey’s expertise in crafting fine Irish whiskey, combined with strong distribution partners, and ABG’s marketing and distribution strength across the world.
This is a strategically significant move for Amber Beverage Group as it continues its successful growth as a global spirits company. The acquisition is also the Group’s first entry into the fast-growing Irish whiskey sector – a category which has outstripped all other spirits categories for over a decade, enjoying buoyant sales growth of 140% (2010-2020).
Walsh Whiskey has been at the forefront of the revival of Irish Whiskey since its launch. The Irishman, the company’s original brand, is a suite of nine single malt-led whiskeys. Writers’ Tears is a range of eight pot-still-focused whiskeys. Both brands will join the ABG core brands portfolio, which has been welcomed by the trade and consumers to great acclaim.
The co-founder of Walsh Whiskey, Bernard Walsh, will continue as Managing Director. Commenting on the new opportunities to grow the reach of both brands as part of Amber Beverage Group, he said: “We are delighted to embark on a new phase of growth as part of Amber Beverage Group. Given the underlying strengths of our brands and of the long-term trajectory of Irish whiskey, this is a logical next step for us, providing a means of scaling up the business so that a greater number of consumers have the opportunity to participate in the search for the perfect drop or ‘taoscán’ of whiskey.
“I will continue to oversee all aspects of the business and in particular the development and production of our whiskeys, ensuring continuity of the same flavour profiles and high standards that have been the foundation of our success. Our talented team is excited by the greater opportunities that come from being part of Amber Beverage Group. I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the role that our dedicated team has played in helping make Walsh Whiskey the success it is today.”
Jekaterina Stuģe, CEO of Amber Beverage Group, said: “This is a major step for us as a company. We already own and bottle 100 brands as well as distributing and selling more than 1,300 third-party brands. This is the first time we have entered into the whiskey sector and we are particularly pleased that ABG is now part of the consistently high-growth story that is the super-premium end of the Irish whiskey market. We are thrilled to add this category to our portfolio by welcoming Walsh Whiskey into our Group. We look forward to working with Bernard and the team, whose knowledge of the Irish whiskey sector will prove invaluable to us as we develop.”