AP News

Brown-Forman teams up with Asahi Group in Japan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Liquor company Brown-Forman plans to team up with the Asahi Group to distribute its brands in Japan next year after its more than 40-year relationship with Suntory ends.

Brown-Forman Chief Operating Officer Mark McCallum said in a statement on Wednesday that the company sees growth potential for whiskeys such as Jack Daniel's and Early Times, as well as its other brands in Japan.

Some of Brown-Forman's other brands include Southern Comfort, Korbel and Chambord. They are sold in about 160 countries globally.

Asahi is known for beers such as Super Dry, but also produces and sells other beverages including whiskeys and wines. Brown-Forman Corp. and Asahi already have an existing relationship in Australia.

Brown-Forman's contract with Suntory expires on Dec. 31. Suntory has distributed Brown-Forman products since the 1970s.

The Louisville, Ky. company's deal with Asahi is expected to be effective on Jan. 1.

Last month Brown-Forman reported that its first-quarter net income surged 25 percent, spiked by double-digit sales growth for Jack Daniel's and a recent price increase for many of its premium brands.

Brown-Forman's most common traded shares closed Tuesday at $64.86, up nearly 21 percent since the start of the year.

Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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