Pernod Ricard to buy online spirits retailer The Whisky Exchange as Sella Digital scoops up heritage gin brand J&W Nicholson

UK – French alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard is set to expand its e-commerce capabilities with the acquisition of online spirits retailer The Whisky Exchange. 

The Whisky Exchange was founded in 1999 by Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh and delivers a range of approximately 10,000 whiskies and spirits, making it one of the largest online spirits retailers in the UK. 

Best known for its website, the company also has three retail shops in London and is also “active in private sales and online auctions of rare spirits,” said Pernod Ricard. 

Pernod Ricard revealed that even with the acquisition, Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh will remain with the business as joint managing directors. 

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“After more than 20 years building The Whisky Exchange, we are delighted to be joining the Pernod Ricard family and working with them to take the business to the next level,” said Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh.  

“Our mission remains the same: to offer the finest range of whiskies and spirits from the best producers around the world, educate and engage with consumers, and support the top on-trade establishments around the UK.” 

As shopping increasingly goes online, alcoholic beverage companies have been keen to expand their e-commerce capabilities to better reach their customers. 

According to IWSR, U.S. alcohol e-commerce sales approached US$5.6 billion in 2020, up from roughly US$3 billion last year.  

Meanwhile, across 10 core markets — Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK, and the U.S – alcohol e-commerce sales were estimated to increase by 42%, to US$24 billion, in 2020. 

“E-commerce is a key channel in our long-term strategy,” Pernod Ricard’s CEO and chairman, Alexandre Ricard, said. 

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“We are thrilled to work with industry pioneers such as Sukhinder, Rajbir and the whole team to bring The Whisky Exchange to a new step of its development.” 

Sella Digital acquires heritage gin brand J&W Nicholson 

Meanwhile, UK investment firm Sella Digital has acquired heritage gin company J&W Nicholson & Co, for an undisclosed sum.  

J&W Nicholson & Co is considered a pioneer in the creation of London dry and flavored gins.  At its height, the company had its products sold in over 100 countries worldwide.  

“We want to reinstate Nicholson Gin as one of the world’s premium gins again,” said Alex Johns, CEO of Sella Digital.  

“We wholeheartedly believe that genuine heritage British brands, such as Nicholson Gin, which have ‘uninvented authenticity’, will continue to hold a premier position in the eyes of the global gin consumer.” 

He continued: “We look forward to the challenge of helping the company adapt to the rapidly changing retail landscape, both here in the UK and overseas”. 

The Sella Digital team says its expertise with investors who bring experience in multiple categories including retail, ecommerce, marketing, sponsorship and global distribution, will enable it to revive the Nicholson brand. 

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