Japanese beverage company Suntory Holdings to buy Jim Beam

The Jim Beam bourbon distillery in Clermont, Ky. Japanese company Suntory Holdings is acquiring Beam Inc. for $13.6 billion.
(Luke Sharrett / Getty Images)

Japanese beverage firm Suntory Holdings will buy Beam, the company behind American bourbon Jim Beam, for $13.6 billion.

In addition to Jim Beam, Suntory will acquire Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek bourbons, Teacher’s and Laphroaig Scotch whiskeys, Canadian club whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Sauza tequila and Pinnacle vodka.

The sale is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.


If you’ve seen the 2003 movie “Lost in Translation,” the name Suntory may sound familiar. Bill Murray’s character was in Tokyo filming a commercial for the company. In one of the movie’s memorable lines, Murray says: “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”

For those worried Jim Beam will no longer be a quintessential American liquor: The brand will continue to be run out of the Chicago headquarters by its current management team, Suntory announced Monday. No plans have been made to alter the product.

Suntory’s current products include Japanese whiskeys Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin; Bowmore Scotch whiskey; and Midori liqueur. The company was founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1899.

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