Alcoholic drinks maker Diageo PLC (DGE.L) does not need to buy rival Beam Inc (BEAM.N), its chief executive officer said on Tuesday, since it is expanding its existing whiskeys and launching new ones.
Diageo has long been seen as a potential buyer of newly independent Beam, since Beam's array of bourbon whiskies would complement Diageo's two dozen Scotch brands, which include Johnnie Walker, J&B and Talisker.
"We don't need to" buy Beam, Menezes told reporters following a meeting with investors, referring to the maker of Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Knob Creek.
"Fundamentally our position in total North American whiskey is strong," he said. Diageo already has 23 percent of the North American whiskey market, it says, with its Bulleit Bourbon, Crown Royal, George Dickel and 7 Crown, making it tied for No. 1 with Jack Daniels maker Brown Forman (BFb.N).
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For the so-called ultra-premium end of the bourbon market, Diageo plans to launch two new brands, Orphan Barrel and Blade & Bow. Orphan Barrel will be sold in very limited quantities, for $75 to $125 per bottle, and should go on the market during the first quarter of 2014, Menezes said. Blade & Bow will come out later in the year.