Jim Beam's Kentucky bourbon to be sold to Japanese

IT IS one of the unofficial drinks of regional Australia, but will the appeal of Jim Beam's Kentucky bourbon be watered down as the all-American brand falls into the hands of a Japanese drinks giant?

Asian beverage maker Suntory's $17.8 billion deal to buy the Beam brands, including Maker's Mark, Canadian Club and Teacher's Scotch Whiskey, is to be finalised later this year.

Although Suntory may not be a well-known brand in Australia, it already distributes Midori and Tia Maria and Jim Beam itself.

In Queensland, Jim Beam's top competitor is the locally brewed Bundaberg Rum but in New South Wales it is up against Wild Turkey and Jack Daniels as well.

Beam Global's American spokesman Carson Hine said by law, Jim Beam's bourbon must still be made in the United States.

It would be made in "the exact same way, with all the heritage and authenticity".

To find out what the punters might think, APN contacted Queensland's longest-operating watering hole - the Nindigully Pub, about 400km west of Toowoomba.

"Gully" manager Michael Wilkins said he could only say how he would feel if his drink - Bundaberg Rum - fell into foreign hands.

"I'd be pretty pissed off if Bundy Rum got sold to the Japanese because it's our drink".

"My opinion is that (Jim Beam) is an American brand, it would be sad to see Jim Beam get sold to (Suntory)."

Suntory has been creating its own Japanese whiskies since 1923 and in 2010 was the first Japanese firm to win the title of "Whisky Distiller of the Year" against the world's best

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