Blended Scotch whisky Cutty Sark, which has its roots in Prohibition America, has been sold to French drinks group La Martiniquaise-Bardinet.
Glasgow-based Edrington sold the brand for an undisclosed sum.
In June Edrington put up the Cutty Sark brand and Glenturret distillery – the home of the Famous Grouse – for sale after deciding to focus on its luxury brands, including the Macallan and Highland Park.
The purchase of Cutty Sark makes La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, which owns Glen Moray and Starlaw distilleries, as well as the Sir Edward’s and Label 5 blended Scotch whiskies, the world’s fifth-largest spirits group.
The transfer is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Edrington will continue to provide blending and bottling and other associated services during a transition period.
Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington, said: ‘Cutty Sark is a great Scotch whisky and has been a worldwide whisky icon for the last 90 years.
‘We are pleased to be transferring the brand to La Martiniquaise-Bardinet and know that it will thrive under their ownership.’
Founded in 1923, Cutty Sark was illegally smuggled into the US during Prohibition by then owner Berry Bros. & Rudd, where it established a strong following.
Jean-Pierre Cayard, president of La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, said: ‘We are proud to take ownership of this powerful brand. Cutty Sark perfectly complements our portfolio of international brands including Label 5, Sir Edward’s & Glen Moray Scotch whisky, Poliakov vodka, Porto Cruz and Negrita & Saint James rum.
‘This acquisition is a major step forward to accelerate our international expansion. It will further strengthen our position in Europe and boost our presence in key markets such as the US & Japan. With Cutty Sark, we consolidate our position in Scotch whisky, entering in the world’s top five groups.’
Named after the famous British clipper ship, Cutty Sark is a light blend centred around North British and Invergordon grain whiskies, with malts from over 40 distilleries.
Cutty Sark remained under the ownership of Berry Bros. & Rudd until 2010 when ownership was transferred to Edrington.
There is currently no update on the sale of Glenturret distillery.
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