Brown-Forman, the US distiller which is best known for its Jack Daniel's and Southern Comfort brands, has taken control of the Italian liqueur maker Distillerie Tuoni e Canepa.
B-F already had a 45 per cent stake in Tuoni e Canepa, whose main brand is Tuaca Liqueur, which was acquired by the US group in December 2000. B-F has been the US distributor for the European group since May 1999.
Tuoni e Canepa's president, Enrico Tuoni, and its director, Mariagrazia Tuoni Banti, will continue to work for the company for a minimum of two years to assist Brown-Forman in the transition of the Tuaca brand.
The acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on earnings per share for Brown-Forman in fiscal 2003 or fiscal 2004.
Enrico Tuoni said: "We have worked successfully with Brown-Forman as our partner for many years. I believe that Brown-Forman will continue to build the heritage of our family through Tuaca."
William M. Street, president of Brown-Forman, added: "Tuaca has been a tremendous asset in our developing brands portfolio. We believe the taste profile and brand imagery are well received by consumers and the brand has significant untapped potential in the US and abroad."
Tuaca is the latest brand to join the Brown-Forman portfolio. Most recently the company increased its ownership of the Finnish vodka brand Finlandia.