October 16, 2013

Lewiston bottling facility is sold

Beam sells the plant to a unit of Sazerac and will lease the plant back for now.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon, Maker’s Mark bourbon, and Pinnacle Vodka, said on Wednesday it sold its Lewiston bottling plant to a unit of New Orleans-based Sazerac Co. for an undisclosed price.

Beam had acquired the plant when it bought Pinnacle Vodka from White Rock Distillery in April 2012 for about $605 million.

In January, Beam said it would shift bottling of Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack rum from Maine to Kentucky, where more than two-thirds of the company’s global annual volume is produced.

“We told the workforce in Lewiston that we would explore different options for the plant, including potentially finding a suitable buyer,” said Jim Morehead, director of manufacturing for Beam. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Sazerac purchase the plant and to continue operating it as a spirits bottling facility.”

The sale includes the building, land and equipment. Beam will lease the plant back from Sazerac at least through the first quarter of 2014, when the transition of Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack rum into Beam’s Frankfort, Ky., facility is completed.

There are currently 120 employees at the plant. The expectation is that they will become Sazerac workers when the transition is completed, Beam spokeswoman Paula Erickson said.

“We are pleased to be able to add the Lewiston plant to our operations footprint,” Mark Brown, Sazerac president and chief executive, said. “With an experienced team who knows how to create the finest spirits, coupled with the right size and equipment and a good working knowledge of the brands we acquired from White Rock two years ago, we are looking forward to adding production volume back to the plant.”

Sazerac is a family-owned firm that owns distilleries including Buffalo Trace Distillery, A. Smith Bowman, Glenmore Distillery, Barton, Fleischmann, Medley and Mr. Boston.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:jhall@pressherald.com
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