Consolidation can be disturbing and unsettling, and it's real sad when great companies with great histories, like Seagrams, simply vanish. However, customers (by which I mean trade customers, like LeNell) like to have choices and when companies get so big, customers will go out of their way to find alternatives. Because of that, every round of industry consolidations has created opportunities, some of which have been terrific for the interests of a narrow clique called bourbon enthusiasts.
- Seagrams is broken up and Kirin buys Four Roses, makes the brand more widely available in the US and introduces Four Roses Single Barrel.
- Seagrams sells of two of its bourbon brands, Benchmark and Eagle Rare, turning Sazerac from a regional distributor into a national marketer and, eventually, a major bourbon producer.
- Diageo unloads most of its bourbon brands to concentrate its efforts on increasing the market share of its category-leading worldwide spirits brands. The Weller and Old Fitzgerald brands go to two different distillers, so now we have three distillers making wheated bourbon whereas before we only had two.
- Innovative, small, independent bottlers and marketers like Julian Van Winkle, Even Kulsveen and the David Sherman Company find a way to successfully and profitably market extra-aged whiskies that have been languishing in the warehouses of the distilleries that made them.