Speciality Drinks Ltd. recently announced its acquisition by the French global company Pernod Ricard. Speciality Drinks Ltd. is the parent family of The Whisky Exchange, the largest online retailer of whiskey and spirits in the world. The agreement will also include The Whisky Exchange’s three retail locations in London: TWE’s retail events, Whisky. Auction and ABV Global. The agreement will not be including Elixir Distillers Ltd.
The Whiskey Exchange: Story from Founding to a Million Dollar company
The Whiskey Exchange was founded by two brothers Sukhinder Singh and Rajbir Singh in 1999. The two brother’s parents were emigrants to the U.K. from India. Sukhinder finished university in 1990 and helped around the father’s shop while waiting for the job market to improve. In the late 1990s, both brothers decided to bring spirits to the public with the help of the internet. Rajbir had studied computing at university and knew a web developer who built the shop website for the company – The Whisky Exchange. The Whiskey Exchange started in the small warehouse of The Nest in Hanwell in west London. They used the family’s skills, expertise, and history for starting the spirits collection. After years of planning, the website finally became live around 1999. The first few days no order came. After some days, the first order came from Germany. Sukhinder’s network of whiskey collectors became regular customers and thus the company grew and became international. They are one of the first online whisky specialist retailers, with a turnover of £72 million last year.
The Whisky Exchange retails around 10,000 products and has won awards such as Drinks Business Awards Online retailer of the Year in 2018 and 2020, Decanter Retail Award 2019 for Best Specialist Retail Champagne & Sparkling, and the IWSC Trophy in 2017 as Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year.
The acquisition of The Whiskey Exchange
The Whisky Exchange has been a pioneer in emerging as a great success and delivering fine wine and spirits across the globe through their retail business but also the subsequently emerged businesses in the U.K. It is also active in private sales and online auctions of rare spirits. With the demand for more resources, experiences, and premiumization development, Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh made the sale with French conglomerate Pernod Richard; which is estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds. Pernod Ricard will leverage synergies between The Whisky Exchange’s expertise and its in-house platforms such as Drinks&Co and Bodeboca.
“After more than 20 years building The Whisky Exchange, we are delighted to be joining the Pernod Ricard family and working with them to take the business to the next level. The Whisky Exchange and our customers have always felt like a family, and we are looking forward to maintaining this ethos with a partner that shares our values. Our mission remains the same: to offer the finest range of whiskies and spirits from the best producers around the world, educate and engage with consumers, and support the top on-trade establishments around the UK”.Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh, founders of The Whisky Exchange, announced
“E-commerce is a key channel in our long term strategy. We are thrilled to work with Industry pioneers such as Sukhinder, Rajbir, and the whole team to bring The Whisky Exchange to a new step of its development“.Alexandre Ricard, Chairman, and CEO of Pernod Ricard stated
The Whisky Exchange will continue to operate with its current team and structure, with Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh managing the business as joint Managing Directors. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions.
About Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard is the world’s No 2 in wines and spirits with consolidated sales of €8,824 million in FY21. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has undergone sustained development. The beverage acquisitions include Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005), and Vin&Sprit (2008). Pernod Ricard, which owns 16 of the Top 100 Spirits Brands, holds one of the most prestigious and comprehensive brand portfolios in the industry, including- Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, etc. Pernod Ricard’s brands are distributed across 160+ markets and by its salesforce in 73 markets.
“In recent years Pernod-Ricard has focused its acquisitions on a string of niche players designed to expand its capabilities and the range of premium spirits that it can offer. This is particularly true in the US, where it has made a series of acquisitions, mostly focused on the craft whisky industry. This strategy of focusing on small, premium niche producers is the opposite of Pernod-Ricard’s earlier acquisition strategy that saw it focus on building market share through the acquisition of major brands and companies in the spirits industry.”According to Forbes