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Land Of The Giants: McLane’s Buying GA Spirits Distrib, Empire

INSIGHTS Express:

Fascinating somewhat leftfield development as distribution giant McLane’s ($31 bil subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway) has deal to buy Ga/NC spirits distrib Empire (also sells Boston Beer, Sierra among other beer brands). Gotta imagine this purchase is just the beginning. Unlikely a behemoth like McLane’s got into spirits distribution for just this one deal alone. Bill Anderson’s First Beverage Group, including ex-GE Capital exec Sean McLaren, served as advisor. Recall that Berkshire Hathaway also has $11 bil stake in Coke and formerly had big stake in AB. Entry of McLane’s into alc bev distribution along with recent Coke deal to buy CCE represent sweeping changes on DSD distribution landscape. So Warren Buffet will be in alc bev distribution biz.