Jack Daniel’s parent company is getting out of the vodka category. Brown-Forman Corp. announced on June 19 that it has agreed to sell its Finlandia vodka brand to Switzerland-based beverage company Coca-Cola HBC AG for $220 million. The deal, subject to the customary closing process, is expected to close in the second half of 2023.
Brown-Forman had acquired the Finnish vodka brand from Altia Corp. (predecessor to the current production partner Anora Group Plc) in multiple phases starting in 2000, obtaining full ownership of Finlandia in 2004. It sold 2.7 million cases of Finlandia in its 2023 fiscal year, about the same as the previous year.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 hurt the brand’s prospects: Brown-Forman recognized non-cash impairment charges totaling $148 million for Finlandia in fiscal 2022 and 2023. This reflected a decline in its long-term outlook for Finlandia due to suspension of Brown-Forman’s operations in Russia — a key market for the brand, the company said in an SEC filing.
Brown-Forman, founded in 1870, also includes the premium bourbons Woodford Reserve and Old Forester, Herradura tequila and Chambord liqueur. It recently expanded its premium spirits portfolio with the acquisitions of Gin Mare and Diplomático Rum.