All your booze comes from a handful of titanic global corporations

Mergers and acquisitions mania: not just for banks, oil companies, publishing, movie studios, airlines, cable, phone companies, retail chains and family restaurants anymore. For years, the booze industry has been quiety homogenizing, as hedge-fund-fueled megafauna gobbles up smaller firms and even huge rivals, leaving behind a landscape where your "Mexican" tequila, "Irish" whiskey, "Scotch," "Puerto Rican" rum, and other bar standbys are all owned by a "British" company that claims it makes all its profits in The Netherlands.

So when you're enjoying your cool Suntory Japanese Single Malt, you're enriching the Jim Beam people. Same goes for Courvoisier.

The companies all claim that the mergers and acquisitions won't affect the product. History tells us that's not true — but even if it is, there's something disconcertingly cyberpunk about a single company making all the boozes of the world, sending the money into offshore tax-havens enjoyed by the hedge fund elites.


Value/Company Status: $71 billion market cap; $16.8 billion sales; No.245 on the Forbes Global 2000 list of world's biggest public companies

Notable Brands:

Gin: Tanqueray, Gordon's, Booth's, Nolet's
Rum: Captain Morgan, Ron Zacapa, Cacique
Tequila: Don Julio
Vodka: Smirnoff, Ketel One, Cîroc
Whisk(e)y: Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit, Seagram's, George Dickel, Caol Ila, Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban, J&B, Bell's, Buchanan's, Cardhu
Other: Baileys, Guinness

Diageo is the biggest dog in the room. Johnnie Walker is the world's top selling blended Scotch, and Smirnoff is the world's top selling vodka. Bailey's is the world's top selling liqueur, and while Guinness is not a spirit, the beer giant adds more heft to the overall portfolio. J&B and Bell's are both among the top selling Scotch blends.

All of that before even getting to Tanqueray, Crown Royal, Bulleit, plenty more Scotch, and additional interests ranging from Schnapps and mixed drinks, to wines and more liqueurs. With over 30 distilleries and growing, Diageo is the biggest whisky producer in the world. The company also owns 34 percent of Moët Hennessy (see below), adding interests in Cognac and Champagne to its bustling lineup.

Who Owns Your Favorite Liquor Brands?
[Jake Emen/Eater]

(via Kottke)