Jack Daniel's owner Brown-Forman to sell two liqueur brands for $543.5 mn

Brown-Forman Corp, the owner of Jack Daniel's whiskey, yesterday struck a deal to sell its liqueur brands, Southern Comfort and Tuaca, to privately held Louisiana-based alcohol maker Sazerac for $543.5 million.

Brown-Forman CEO, Paul Varga said that the decision to sell these brands reflects the company's evolving portfolio strategy and a continuation of its efforts to focus resources on its highest strategic priorities.

''We're proud of the work undertaken over the years by our employees and partners on behalf of Southern Comfort and Tuaca,'' said Varga. ''Both brands played important roles in the Brown-Forman success story, and we will have fond memories of the enjoyment they brought to consumers, our partners, and to Brown-Forman.''

The sale of these brands is expected to close by 1 March 2016 resulting in a one-time operating income gain for Brown-Forman of approximately $475 million in fiscal 2016.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company acquired Southern Comfort in 1979 and Tuaca in 2002.

Southern Comfort was created in 1874 by a bartender named MW Heron, who took harsh unrefined whiskeys of the time, mixed them with his own blend of fruits and spices, and bottled a uniquely sweet and smooth ?flavoured spirit.

Around 500 years old, Tuaca, having authentic Italian roots, is a vanilla citrus liqueur. Tuaca began as a legendary liqueur created for Lorenzo Medici, the ruler of Florence and visionary benefactor of renaissance art and architecture.  The recipe was rediscovered in 1938 by brothers-in-law Gaetano Tuoni and Giorgio Canepa who recreated it and gave it a name derived from their own  - Tuaca.

Founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown, Brown-Forman is one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies and among the top 10 largest global spirits companies.

Its more than 25 brands include Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel's & Cola, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, Finlandia, Southern Comfort, Korbel, el Jimador, Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist, Herradura, New Mix, Sonoma-Cutrer, Early Times, and Chambord.

The Kentucky-based company employs more than 4,000 people worldwide and its brands are sold in around 160 countries worldwide.