Sazerac Buys Early Times Brand From Brown-Forman Corporation

Early Times, celebrating their 160 Year Anniversary, has been sold to Sazerac.

Brown-Forman Corporation has confirmed today the sale of the Early Times, Canadian Mist, and Collingwood brands to Sazerac, parent company of Buffalo Trace Distillery and Barton 1792 Distillery.

It’s a big year for the Early Times brand. They’re celebrating their 160 year anniversary, making them one of the longest-running labels in bourbon. Brown-Forman, parent company of Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Coopers’ Craft, and Jack Daniels, originally purchased Early Times in 1923, marking the first brand ever bought by the company. Brown-Forman purchased Canadian Mist in 1971, marking their first production facilities outside the US.

“This sale reflects the continued evolution of the company’s portfolio strategy to focus on premium brands. Brown-Forman has actively managed the shape and contents of its portfolio over the last decade and a half through developing, acquiring, and divesting various businesses and brands,” reads a press release from Brown-Forman. “The company believes this portfolio management, alongside innovation, will allow it to continue to focus on the best growth prospects and value creation over the long term.”

While the Early Times label has evolved frequently over the years, Brown-Forman reintroduced a popular budget bottled-in-bond liter expression in 2018.

“Early Times and Canadian Mist have been valued brands in our portfolio for many years, and they each have played significant roles in our company’s history,” said Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer, Brown-Forman Corporation in a press release. “We are thankful to all the people who have distilled, bottled, shipped, marketed, and distributed these brands with care over the years.”

“We are delighted to acquire such iconic brands as well as the Canadian Mist Distillery,” said Mark Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sazerac Company in a press release. “Brown-Forman has done an excellent job building these brands over the years and we expect to invest in the brands and grow their sales in the coming years.”

The sale is expected to finalize later this summer. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP advised Brown-Forman in this transaction. Cooley LLP provided legal advice to Sazerac.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.