January 15, 2016 – The headline on Yahoo! was somewhat misleading and we bet we’re not the only people to gasp. It said, “The Owner’s of Jack Daniels Selling Off This Iconic Brand”. Frank Sinatra must be spinning in his grave.
Jack Daniel’s remains safely at Brown-Forman but Southern Comfort has been sold to Sazerac in New Orleans. You could say it is coming home because Southern Comfort was created in 1874 by Martin Wilkes Heron, a bartender at McCauley’s Tavern in New Orleans. Mr. Heron was a smart fellow because he patented his recipe. Also in the deal is the Italian liqueur Tuaca.
Southern Comfort has been struggling according to industry reports, even though Brown-Forman introduced other flavors to compete in the popular flavored whiskey category. In the first half of 2015, traditional Jack Daniel’s grew 7% while Tennessee Honey increased by 14%. Southern Comfort’s net sales slipped 7%.
Southern Comfort will join Sazerac’s large stable, which includes the ragingly successful Fireball, the cinnamon flavored whiskey that “tastes like heaven, burns like hell”. We’re glad that a drink invented nearly 150 years ago will still be around.