US – British alcoholic beverages manufacturer Diageo has completed its acquisition of British gin and vodka maker, Chase Distillery, following regulatory clearance amid competition concerns.

Founded in 2008 by entrepreneur William Chase, the Chase Distillery portfolio includes seven gins, four vodkas and an elderflower liqueur.

Chase Distillery generated £13.6m revenues in the 12 months to the end of 2019, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

During the covid-19 period, a boost in demand for gin & tonics in Britain helped spirits group Chase Distillery offset the collapse in on-trade and international business this year.

The distiller saw strong growth in retailers such as Waitrose, Tesco and Morrisons, as well as in independents and wine merchants during the coronavirus period, while its direct-to-consumer online business also more than doubled in size.

Having received regulatory approval from UK Capital Markets Authority, Chase Distillery and its range of alcoholic beverages will now become part of Diageo’s portfolio.

“We are delighted to welcome Chase Distillery and its quintessentially British portfolio of high quality, crafted brands to Diageo,” said Dayalan Nayager, managing director, Diageo Great Britain.

Nayager added that his team was “looking forward to working with the Chase team to build on the portfolio’s considerable potential.”

Earlier, Diageo released a ‘lighter’ version of its Baileys cream liqueur, which is 40% lower in calories and sugar than the flagship variant.

The new Baileys Deliciously Light is the latest innovation from the world’s biggest-selling liqueur brand.

Its made with Irish cream and whiskey and described as one that is ‘rich in cocoa and vanilla flavours’.

Diageo General Counsel & Company Secretary to retire

Meanwhile, the British alcoholic beverages giant announced that its current general counsel & company secretary, Siobhán Moriarty, will retire from the company in September after 24 years of service.

According to a statement from the company  Moriarty will be succeeded by Tom Shropshire, who is currently a partner & global US practice head at Linklaters LLP.

Moriarty joined Diageo in 1997 and was appointed general counsel in 2013 and assumed the combined role of general counsel & company secretary in 2018.

In a statement, Diageo said she had ‘redefined the role of the legal function, bringing greater commercial focus and making a valuable contribution to Diageo’s long-term performance’.

New York-born Shropshire divides his time between London and New York having climbed through the ranks to become a partner in 2006 and global head of the US practice in 2017.

He advises on crossborder M&A and capital markets deals as well as in an advisory capacity to corporates.

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