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Japanese company to buy Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam


A company out of Japan is set to buy Beam Global, maker of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other delicious spirits. Suntory, known for producing Japan’s first whiskey, will acquire the American liquor manufacturer for $16 billion. Beam’s current management will continue to run the business.

Your bourbon is now Japanese-owned and I blame Bill Murray and Bill Murray only.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

64 Comments for Japanese company to buy Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam

  1. dude
    10:22 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    oh well, makers is shit anyhow…

  2. Jason
    10:30 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Not buying that shit now

  3. Axe Cop
    10:31 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    That sucks…at least the Japanese actually like bourbon.

  4. Beavis
    10:33 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Something is just wrong with this. First Budweiser is bought by In-Bev and now this.

  5. ukjonese
    10:36 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I’m sorry but this is sad.. I have always liked Maker’s but I will think twice about buying it now..

  6. steve
    10:38 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Points for referencing Lost in Translation!

    • Grammar King
      10:40 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      One of the best movies of all time.

  7. Bald Guy
    10:39 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    For fyi the purchase was for $13.6, valued at 16…. they must’ve used their plus card dawg.

  8. barn
    10:40 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I’ve bought my last keeneland bottle

  9. Bald Guy
    10:41 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    If you don’t drink from the Trace bottling house then you just like great marketing….

    • Catgrad7072
      10:47 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Yep, BT makes great bourbon.
      The old saying is: ‘Maker’s Mark; 25% ;good bourbon,75% good marketing.’

    • RexRox
      1:19 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Yep. When the Japanese buy the Buffalo, THEN I’ll be concerned.

  10. Crying
    10:41 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    The people crying over this are the same people who probably cried when Toyota build a plant here.

  11. joey
    10:42 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    FYI…. they were actually sold last October!!! Just becoming public news

    • PB
      4:47 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      False. It was rumored the interest last October and just announced the plan today. Deal hasn’t fully gone through yet and wont until early summer.

  12. Tony
    10:44 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Last year when Makers announced they were going to reduce the amount of alcohol in order to produce more bourbon it backfired on them. Their loyal customers spoke up and they listened. I say u loyal customers need to band together and stop buying the stuff. This is a disgrace to Kentuckians and to the legacy started by Bill Samuels.

    • Derp
      4:23 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      You’re a moron… First of all, they said it’s going to be the same management. Second, you want people to “band together” and stop buying it just because it is owned by a Japanese company? Nothing you can do will change that… Unless you have or know someone who has well over 16 billion dollars

    • Beavis
      5:50 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      So you think he is a moron. Read your own post. LOL

  13. clam
    10:47 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Four Roses has been owned by Kiran (Japanese company) for years, and it was owned by a Canadian company (Seagram) before that. Many distilleries are owned by companies from other countries or other states. More companies just by a certain percentage of distillery’s product and then sell it under their own label (Bulliet Bourbon and many others). Bourbon is big business, so don’t have romantic illusions of kindly old gentlemen sniffing bourbons in barns. You might as well believe Ronald McDonald makes your hamburgers.

    • Rei
      10:49 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Dead on the mark.

    • Hamburglar
      10:56 am January 13, 2014 Permalink


    • dude
      11:26 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Four Roses sucks bro. Buffalo Trace is still American owned at least, and unquestionably make the best bourbon(s) in the world. Its only not an illusion if you are drinking the cheap shit. The good stuff is till made in smaller batches.

  14. golfman54
    10:52 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Just remember, even though it’s owned by a Japanese company, it’s still made right here in the Bluegrass State. Kentuckians will not lose ANY jobs over this sale.

  15. fatkidineastky
    10:53 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I have not purchased Makers in 3 years when that idiot Samuels made fun of Eastern Kentucky (whom bought a lot of their product) on Tom Fischers Bourbon Blog (in video form) and – NOW – NO WAY IN HELL!!!! Buy Woodford! Buy Old Forrester! JUST BUY FRIGGIN’ KENTUCKY!! Just proof that OLD MONEY that Bill Samuels gifted his children was only money for those spoiled brats and not what Bill Samuels stood for – KENTUCKY FINE BOURBON. Spoiled brats sold out because they screwed the company up with their mismangement of the product and its’ employees!

    Will Yum Centers’ Makers area provided by the Samuels family now serve sushi with Bourbon?

    • trey
      1:11 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Have a Snickersâ„¢. You seem to get angry when you’re hungry.

    • Ryan
      6:53 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Rabble, rabble, rabble

  16. UK22
    11:01 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Oh grow up Peter Pan. It’s a business! This will still be made in Ky. No hard feelings here.

  17. UKAlum
    11:03 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    The jingoism is running rampant in the comment section today. Who cares who actually owns the company which makes the bourbon? It’s not like there is some sinister plot by the Japanese to take away our freedoms one bottle of bourbon at a time. If anything the way the company is run and the product’s place in the marketplace can only improve given the Japanese’s history of making great products at affordable prices.

  18. raccoon
    11:04 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Why do people care who owns the company? The stuff will still be the same and it will still be made in Kentucky.

    • UKAlum
      11:07 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Cause Merica..Duh :Sarcasm:

  19. bluegrass79
    11:07 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I aint buying Beam anymore. Selling out to Japan? wtf

  20. Bradley
    11:07 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I drink Blanton’s anyway. Could care less.

    • dude
      11:19 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      yup, best you can get for the price

    • FappyVanWinkle
      12:18 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      MM is pancake syrup. Blanton’s tastes like KY.

    • Not Dan Issel
      12:46 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      You do know that Blanton’s is owned by a Japanese Company, although made and distributed in the USA by BT.

    • dude
      1:02 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      @Not Dan Issel…that’s false. Owned by Sazerac, which is in New Orleans.

  21. Josh
    11:07 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    You can’t bitch about how this country is becoming “socialist” then turn right around when something like this happens and bitch about capitalism working. Plus, it really doesn’t matter

    • Yep
      11:25 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      That makes perfect sense to rational and objective people but this is the south.

    • UKAlum
      11:29 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Wait a minute…The people of the south aren’t objective and rational?

  22. Zeke
    11:26 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

    If you care about bourbon, you know that Maker’s really isn’t very good compared to quality bourbon. You can buy a lot of bourbons that are cheaper (sometimes quite a bit cheaper) and taste much better.

    I hate to pile on, but I know from personal experience that Bill Samuels is a UofL fan. Makers only sells the UK bottles because they can sell 100X more than UofL bottles. I don’t begrudge him making money if he can, but I don’t want to get any more of UK bottles after seeing what I saw.

  23. Brrrrrrbon
    12:03 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    The Samuels family sold Makers Mark to Hirim Walker back in 1981. Walker sold it to UK based Allied Domecq in 1987. It was sold again to Fortune Brands in 2005. Bill Samuels remained CEO until a few years ago but his role was basically what Col. Sanders was to Kentucky Fried Chicken (a pitchman).

  24. DudeAbides
    12:06 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I only drink Woodford or Buffalo Trace anyway. The rest is crap and now I see further evidence why.

  25. TN Kat
    12:08 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    It’s all carcinogens anyway. You guys have two great local breweries, West Sixth and Country Boy. We have have 8 in Nashville and none are as good as either of these. Do your self a favor and discover local craft beer.

  26. Biglaw Dawgin'
    12:55 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t buy Belgium-weiser and I’m not going to buy Japanese-Jim or Japanese-Mark.

    • Josh
      2:31 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Your “Belgium-weiser” is an American beer which stole its name from the German word for a beer coming from the Bohemian region of central Europe located in present day Czech Republic.

  27. Next
    1:41 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Welcome to the Republican dream. Where they preach fierce nationalism (for the rubes) but will sellout to whoever has the most money. A party that bows down to mulit-national corporations while they wave the flag and yell “Merica.” They cry about China owning a small portion of our debt then waddle around Walmart buying up cheap Chinese made products. Uneducated, religious tools getting hoodwinked by a party that doesn’t care about them at all. They use guns, religion and racism to Con them out of their votes.

    • Magnum's Mustache
      1:54 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Those with lower education vote for democrats. The majority of voters with college education or above vote republican. Go back to the exit polls and get your facts right.

  28. Kevin C.
    2:08 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Oh HELL no! Time to fire up the Enola Gay again!

  29. Wampus
    2:47 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    No truth to the rumor they plan to start pronouncing it Makels Malk.

    • Buddy
      5:18 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      They turn “L”s to “R”a not the other way around. Haven’t you watched A Christmas Story? Deck the halrs with boughs of horry…Fra Ra Ra Ra Ra..Ra Ra Ra Ra

  30. Heaven Hill
    2:52 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Heaven Hill distilleries is american family owned and operated we make evan willams which for the price is a great bourbon and its born and bred in the usa!!!

  31. Rita Harrison
    2:53 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I am so disgusted with our Kentucky Distilleries selling out. I am almost sick. How dare them.This is part of our heredity as Kentuckians. I often give a bottle of Ky bourbon for gifts. I will never give a bottler of Japanese bourbon for sure. Now I will do my research to find the name brands that remain true to their name…….Yes we republicans like our race, religion, pir freedom to own a gun and particularly our religion. We love our state, our nation our fellow citizens.

    • golfman54
      2:56 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Remember, Kentuckians are still making the stuff! I promise, IT’S OK!

    • UKAlum
      3:36 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      You do realize that republicans aren’t all one race, correct?

    • UKAlum
      3:39 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Also, I guess my Atheist friend who is a republican can’t be part of the party then.

  32. Stack
    3:55 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    I guess everyone here saying “its ok, its made in KY” will be ok when all of the US is owned by foreigners but still being operated, and MADE here. Stupid logic…other countries will not “sellout” their companies to the US. They aren’t ok with it…but we are?? If you are an American born citizen, you aren’t even allowed to own certain parts of real estate in other countries. Never in a millions years would they allow us the opportunity to own a billion dollar company. This is a joke and anyone that’s ok with it here in the comment section, must be drunk. So enjoy your addiction, and before you know it Kim-Wong will be Wol-King into your place of employment to own you. Wake the hell up!!!!

    • UKAlum
      4:23 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      I give you the jingoist of the day ladies and gentlemen. There are plenty of American companies operating in other countries. We are becoming, thankfully, a globalized society which makes where the company originates from irrelevant. As long as Kim-Wong does a good job then I will happily work for/with him.

  33. Woodford
    5:01 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Stack is drunk.

    • Stack
      5:17 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Woodford Reserve the right to shut your lips

  34. Cat89
    5:14 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    If it’s not KENTUCKY owned may as well be drinking Canadian or Tennessee products. Bourbon is my drink of choice and always has been. Don’t drink much Mark at all or Four Roses. Don’t drink Beam either. There are plenty (for now anyway) other brands made in Kentucky owned by Kentuckians or at least American Companies. I get it, bourbon is consumed the world over so my boycotting won’t make a difference. Not trying to make a difference just a matter of principle and loyalty to me. Two antiquated ideals by modern consumer standards.

  35. Stack
    5:14 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks for the your ever so descriptive definition of myself UKALUM. Let me enlighten you on my scenario. The company I work for has now been bought out by two foreign companies. One of which German, the second being the Swiss. Insurance has gotten worse, pay increases have stopped, and 32% of production have gone else where. I work very hard to ensure this company doesn’t relocate, and stays productive but my influence with such is no longer wanted. But, “Thankfully” as you put it, I still have my job, right??? Work for them all you want. I’ve wanted to no part of it since day one, and you have no true experience dealing with such. You cant throw out your Wikipedia response and expect anyone to relate. And I would consider it more Imperialism. Defined as such “Although normally used to imply forcible imposition of a more powerful foreign government’s control on a weaker country, or over conquered territory that was previously without a unified government, “imperialism” is sometimes also used to describe loose or indirect political or economic influence or control of weak states by more powerful ones”. We are run by the dollar and will be owned by anyone willing to by us out. Other countries consider us wear and more easily influenced once they throw us a $ figure. We always take it, and they will own most of our country in my lifetime unless we grow the balls to keep what’s our, here. I love our country and hate sellouts. That’s why I’m a UK fan not a UL fan…I’m not a sellout, I have integrity and will not consider ‘all options” while trying to stay on top. I’m assuming your a Tom Jurich. As long as your pockets are good, your good!! GO CATS!!!!

    • UKAlum
      6:24 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Just because someone makes an intelligent rebuttal does not necessarily mean it is plagiarized. I can appreciate your anti-intellectual and jingoist approach since you have no problem with displaying it. If you really think this is imperialism then you either are using hyperbole or haven’t had enough education to learn about true imperialism in an actual worldly context. (See French and England in Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries). The world is changing around you, either get with the globalism mind set or take a back seat and let the new generation drive. If you would like to discuss this further I can provide you with my email address or phone number. No need to turn this article into a political debate.

  36. Beavis
    5:57 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    Here,,here,,Stack,,,,,,nice post. Most of those foreign companies are only interested in one thing,,,wring as much profit out of the company be damned. And you people that think that it does not matter who owns it,,,,where do those profits go ?

  37. Mike Martin
    7:16 pm January 13, 2014 Permalink

    As someone who knows a thing or two about business and bourbon, this was bound to happen sooner or later. I worked for National Distillers’ when Beam bought use, and finally took over on May 1st 1988. Since then the “we’re sold” has been an ongoing possibility and rumor more times than I care to admit. Now it looks like it’s actually happening. I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know this, our brands are the best products produced, and that’s the main reason we’re being bought now for 13.6 billion dollars. Unlike many here, I have no problem with other bourbon’s from Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey etc. because we are the top producer in the United States bar none. I don’t see this changing but you never know. I just hate the thought of being in a whirlpool of not knowing what the future hold for me and my family now. To me it’s not as important who you work for, as what you produce. If we stay true to our plan we will not only survive, but continue to thrive.