Because owning one of the most popular and best-selling whiskey brands in the world sometimes just isn’t enough, Jack Daniel’s parent company Brown-Forman has just completed the acquisition of Diplomático Rum. The good news is that this Venezuelan brand, which will be the first rum owned by B-F, is a solid pick.
Brown-Forman also owns other major American whiskey brands like Woodford Reserve and Old Forester, as well as international spirits like Tequila Herradura, The GlenDronach and BenRiach. But as the rum category continues to grow in popularity, it seems like it was only a matter of time before this mega drinks corporation dipped its toes into another brown spirit. In fact, e-commerce website Drizly just released data—from an unscientific survey, but still—showing that consumers are more likely to purchase rum than American whiskey by a narrow margin (tequila took the top spot).
The deal to buy Diplomático from Spanish company Destillers United Group was announced in October, but was just completed to the tune of $725 million according to a report in The Rio Times. “Diplomático Rum will join our expanding portfolio, giving Brown‑Forman a market leading entry into the fast-growing super-premium rum category,” said Brown‑Forman president and CEO Lawson Whiting in a statement. “This aged rum brand has distinctive packaging, strong brand positioning, and is a delicious tasting spirit. As part of this acquisition, we will welcome more than 100 new employees to Brown‑Forman.”
The Diplomático distillery was established in 1959 near the Andes Mountains and uses column, batch kettle and copper pot stills to produce its rum. The core lineup consists of four expressions, ranging from the Planas white rum to a blend of dark aged rums called Reserva Exclusiva. There is also the higher-end Prestige Range, which includes Ambassador, which is aged for 12 years and then finished in sherry casks, and a Single Vintage expression which is also finished in sherry casks. According to a press release from Brown-Forman, Destillers United Group will continue to oversee production at the Venezuelan distillery.
All this sounds like it could be good news for rum drinkers because of the huge footprint Brown-Forman has around the world—provided, of course, that the quality doesn’t change (and there’s no reason that it should). And who knows, we could find a Woodford or Jack Daniel’s rum barrel finish in our future, because spirits brand mergers just tend to make that kind of boozy synergistic magic happen.