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Brown-Forman to Build New Distillery at Historic Slane Castle in Ireland

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Brown-Forman Corporation announced today that it has purchased all shares of Slane Castle Irish Whiskey Limited. Brown-Forman will invest approximately $50 million to build a new distillery and consumer experience on the historic Slane Castle Estate in County Meath, Ireland, the home of Henry Conyngham, the eighth Marquess Conyngham, and his son, Alex Conyngham, the Earl of Mount Charles.

“We are very excited about this new venture into Irish Whiskey,” said Brown-Forman Chief Executive Officer Paul Varga. “Brown-Forman has a long history of bringing great whiskey to the world, such as Woodford Reserve, which we introduced in 1996 and has since grown to become one of the world’s leading super premium bourbon brands.”

“Irish whiskey has been one of the fastest growing segments in the global whiskey category over the last few years,” stated Lawson Whiting, executive vice president and chief brands & strategy officer for Brown-Forman Brands, “and we’re excited to be partnering with the Conyngham family as we build the new Slane Irish Whiskey Distillery and introduce new Irish whiskeys to the world.”

Whiting said that Brown-Forman will open the Slane Irish Whiskey Distillery in late 2016, and introduce new Irish whiskeys in the spring of 2017, initially using high quality whiskey purchased from other Irish distilleries and then finished to Slane’s exacting specifications while the whiskey made at the new Slane Distillery is laid down to mature in the nearby Irish countryside. “We’ll use proprietary methods to create unique and high quality taste profiles to position our brands in the premium and super premium segments, with a range of blended, pot still, and single grain Irish whiskeys that will delight whiskey aficionados and consumers alike,” added Whiting.

Alex Conyngham said, “Our family has been part of the Slane community for many generations and we are pleased to join forces with Brown-Forman to bring our special part of Ireland to the world. Our commitment to caring for our land, cultivating barley, and our family legacy are consistent with Brown-Forman’s long-term approach to whiskey making, and we believe that this aligned approach will bring great success.”

Henry Conyngham added, “Our family will be a key part of the brand-building model for these new Irish whiskeys and we are thrilled at the prospect of working for many years to come with Brown-Forman on developing the trademarks and to welcoming friends to the new distillery, right next door to our ancestral home. We know that Brown-Forman is the perfect partner to take these new Irish whiskeys to the U.S. and other markets across the globe.”

Slane Castle is located in the middle of a 1,500 acre estate in the heart of the Boyne Valley, 30 miles north of Dublin.

For more than 140 years, Brown-Forman Corporation has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Jack Daniel’s & Cola, Canadian Mist, Korbel, Gentleman Jack, el Jimador, Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, New Mix, Tuaca, and Woodford Reserve. Brown-Forman’s brands are supported by nearly 4,200 employees and sold in approximately 160 countries worldwide. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.brown-forman.com/.

This press release contains statements, estimates, and projections that are “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “aspire,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “envision,” “estimate,” “expect,” “expectation,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “project,” “pursue,” “see,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” “will continue,” and similar words identify forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date we make them. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors (many beyond our control) that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historical experience or from our current expectations or projections. These risks and other factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Unfavorable global or regional economic conditions, and related low consumer confidence, high unemployment, weak credit or capital markets, sovereign debt defaults, sequestrations, austerity measures, higher taxes, higher interest rates, political instability, higher inflation, deflation, lower returns on pension assets, or lower discount rates for pension obligations
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  • Changes in consumer preferences, consumption or purchase patterns – particularly away from brown spirits, our premium products, or spirits generally, and our ability to anticipate and react to them; bar, restaurant, travel or other on-premise declines; shifts in demographic trends; unfavorable consumer reaction to new products, line extensions, package changes, product reformulations, or other product innovation
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  • Risks associated with acquisitions, dispositions, business partnerships or investments – such as acquisition integration, or termination difficulties or costs, or impairment in recorded value
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  • Business disruption, decline or costs related to organizational changes, reductions in workforce or other cost-cutting measures, or our failure to attract or retain key executive or employee talent

For further information on these and other risks, please refer to the “Risk Factors” section of our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information: This press release includes measures not derived in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), including underlying net sales, underlying gross profit, underlying advertising expense, underlying SG&A, and underlying operating income. These measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for any measure derived in accordance with GAAP, and also may be inconsistent with similar measures presented by other companies. Reconciliations of these measures to the most closely comparable GAAP measures, and reasons for the company’s use of these measures, are presented on Schedules A and B attached hereto.

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