Principled Washingtonians, start coming to terms with another renowned local brand under the umbrella of an international conglomerate: The Rémy Cointreau Group announced yesterday its intentions to buy highly awarded Westland Distillery, one of America’s largest single malt whiskey distilleries. "With this investment, Rémy Cointreau will expand its portfolio further into the fast growing high-end single malt whisky category," the press release said. Financial details were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close by the end of the month.
Westland has been producing spirits in Seattle since 2011; it’s headed by distiller Matt Hofmann, whose co-founder Emerson Lamb left the business last fall. In its quest to rival the world-famous brown liquors of Scotland, the company uses locally grown barley, ages its spirits in coastal Hoquiam in barrels made from Pacific Northwest oak trees, and even utilizes some Washington peat from a bog in Shelton. It all adds up to make Westland one of Seattle’s essential distilleries; this summer, Eater also recognized the company as one of the country’s twelve best single malt distilleries: "If there’s a single distillery most prominently carrying the flag of the American single malt, it’s Westland." The company just revamped its tasting room, too, offering intriguing cocktails in The Cantilever Room.
Rémy Cointreau is, of course, best known for its namesakes, Rémy Martin brandy and Cointreau orange spirit; among other brands, the group also owns Mount Gay rum and Bruichladdich, which produces its eponymous scotch whisky and The Botanist gin.
Many Seattleites are still reeling from the sale of local darling Elysian Brewing Company to AB InBev last year. This year, Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider were acquired by French farmer-run cooperative Agrial. As far as craft whiskey distilleries being picked up, Utah’s famous High West Distillery was purchased by Constellation Brands Inc. this October. The international deals aren’t going away, though they may erode local support.
Westland did not respond to a request for comment by press time; this story will be updated.