Belfast Telegraph

Mexicans acquire world-renowned distillery Bushmills

By Amanda Ferguson

Whiskey is known as the "water of life".

And now Bushmills, the producer of our finest example of the spirit, has been acquired by the world’s biggest tequila producer in a multi-million pound asset swap deal.

The most adventurous of tipplers  among us would concede that tequila and whiskey don’t really mix.

But news that Mexican company Jose Cuervo has taken control of the Bushmills brand as part of a deal with Northern Ireland’s drinks giant Diageo has set tongues wagging in the industry.

Both are family businesses and international brands producing spirits that pack a punch — but don’t be expecting a special blend anytime soon.

Last night Bushmills Irish Whiskey master distiller Colum Egan told the Belfast Telegraph the team was excited about the new chapter for the companies.

“We are a little oasis up in the north coast and so proud to do everything from here. We welcome 100,000 visitors every year,” he explained.

“Jose Cuervo operates in the same manner.

“We have 400 years of whiskey making tradition and I’ve spoken to the family owners who are insistent they want to maintain the traditions.”

On the chances of a whiskey and tequila blend, Colum added: “It might be too much to ask.

“There are some beautiful tequila cocktails and some beautiful whiskey cocktails, so we will blend together as a company, but maybe not the spirits!”

Meanwhile, Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, an internationally renowned publication, has named Bushmills Aged 21 Years the Irish Single Malt of the Year.

5 facts about Bushmills

1. April 20, 1608: King James I granted Thomas Phillips — landowner and Governor of Co Antrim — a licence to distil.

2. In 1784 The Old Bushmill Distillery is official. Hugh Anderson registered the Old Bushmills Distillery and the Pot Still became its registered trade mark.

3. WWII halted production as Allied troops were billeted at the distillery.

4. The Bushmills area celebrated 400 years of distilling in 2008. To mark this, the Bank of Ireland put the Old Bushmills Distillery on its new banknotes.

5. In 2011 actor Elijah Wood and musicians Bon Iver and Chromeo became Bushmills brand ambassadors.

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