Whiskey Galore

'Whisky Galore' for HOE in acquisition of Speyside Distillery


Swinburne Maddison LLP has completed HOE International Limited’s (trading as Harvey’s of Edinburgh) acquisition of the total issued share capital of the Speyside Distillers Company Limited, based in Rutherglen, Glasgow.

The Durham firm advised on commercial and legal due diligence and lead the instruction to a successful outcome. They were required to navigate cross-jurisdictional issues with the Taiwanese based whisky distributor acquiring shares from a US based Seller, amongst others.

The company was acquired with existing working capital facilities remaining in place with the Bank of Scotland plc, which continues to support the business under its new ownership.

The Speyside Distillery has traded since 1990 and is a significant acquisition for Harvey’s. As a result of the volatile nature of the whisky market, it was essential that title to all stock was acquired by the client to strengthen the position of the group within the market. The premises featured in the BBC television series "Monarch of the Glen" as The Lagganmore Distillery. 

Martyn Tennant, a Partner at Swinburne Maddison who undertook a key role in the deal said, "We are very pleased to have advised Harvey’s on this important acquisition which has helped to secure the future trading of the company and its group. It has been a pleasure to work with the Harvey’s management team who we are sure will successfully develop the business of the Speyside Distillery".

John McDonough (pictured), a Director at Harvey’s said, “We are delighted that through investment from Taiwan, our family can now fulfil the dream of Alec Harvey, my grandfather, by returning to whisky distilling in Scotland via Speyside Distillery.”

“Through this acquisition we are now able to widen our reach internationally and work with partners around the world to introduce the Spey brand into Russia, Spain and the Middle East. We are very grateful to Swinburne Maddison for helping us complete the deal.”

John McDonough’s family created the original Spey recipe back in 1770 and the brand’s history remains rooted in the North East.  In 1815, Lord Byron presented his friends with a cask of Spey Whisky to celebrate his wedding at Seaham Hall. One of the lucky recipients was His Majesty King George III who received his whisky at his home at Kew Palace and a replica of the cask remains on display there to this day.

John’s grandfather Alec Harvey also exported Spey Whisky from Sunderland to American bootleggers in the 1920s, where it was rumoured to be the favourite tipple of infamous gangster Al Capone.

After gaining substantial experience with an international drinks giant, John reignited the Spey brand in 2001 and it is now the third best selling brand in Taiwan achieving multi-million pound sales.    

Harvey’s has been a client of Swinburne Maddison for over 2 years.

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