French distiller Pernod Ricard has agreed to buy The Whisky Exchange, reports Bloomberg. The move vaults the Absolut vodka and Havana Club rum maker into one of the liquor industry’s largest online retailers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“What I’m really excited about is that it’s the leading, most credible, most profitable platform in Europe,” Alexandre Ricard, Pernod Ricard’s chief executive officer, he told the outlet.
Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh founded the Whisky Exchange in 1999, and will remain at the helm of the business, which will operate as an independent subsidiary.
Online spirits sales are continuing to grow in importance for spirits makers. This week, DoorDash Inc. said it will offer beer, wine, and spirits through the DoorDash Marketplace in 20 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., as well as Canada and Australia. Earlier this year, Uber Technologies Inc. acquired drinks delivery startup Drizly for $1.1 billion, while Campari formed an e-commerce joint venture with LVMH’s spirits division.
Best known for its website, the Whisky Exchange also operates three brick-and-mortar stores in London. It offers a range of almost 4,000 brands of whisk(e)y, as well as cognac, gin, rum and tequila in more than 30 countries, making it one of the world’s largest e-commerce businesses focused on spirits .
Ownership will give Pernod Ricard access to reams of real-time data on consumer demand for specific liquor categories and trending brands.
Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV also benefited from the drinking-at-home trend through its ownership of Master of Malt, an online rival of the Whisky Exchange acquired by AB InBev’s venture capital arm in 2018. The same year, Pernod Ricard bought Uvinum, a Barcelona-based e-commerce business it later renamed Drinks & Co.
The Whisky Exchange’s parent company generated sales of 72 million pounds ($98.4 million) in 2020, according to corporate filings.