Beam Suntory Inc. headquartered in Deerfield, was launched on October 3, 2011 as merely Beam Inc. after it tore itself away from its former Fortune Brands holding company to focus solely on one product. The company sells spirits – bourbon whiskey, tequila, Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, vodka, cognac, rum, cordials – and ready-to-drink pre-mixed cocktails. Brands range the world from Jim Beam bourbon to Japan’s Yamazaki single-malt whiskey. Other products include Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek bourbon, Canadian Club whiskey and Kakubin, Hakushu and Hibiki whiskeys, and Courvoisier cognac.
On January 13, 2014, Suntory acquired Beam for $16 billion so Beam changed its name to “Beam Suntory.”
Today, the $4 billion company claims it has the “soul of a start-up” and thrives on profits from double-digits sales that were produced last year by America’s growing thirst for Japanese whiskey and by the global popularity of bourbon.
Beginning in September, Suntory will gradually move its 450-plus employees and global headquarters to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart making it one of a growing number of companies to relocate from suburb to City.
In January, Kraft Heinz moved 1,500 employees from Northfield to the Aon Center. Hillshire Brands, Walgreens and AT&T have either opened downtown offices or relocated their headquarters to the city. McDonald’s opened a River North office in April, and, this summer, ConAgra Foods will move its headquarters from Omaha, Neb., to the Mart.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauds Suntory’s move and emphasizes that tax incentives played no role in the deal. He noted that Deputy Mayor Steve Koch helped bring the company to the city.
For the company, the move’s a no brainer: “It’s where increasingly our core consumers live and work,” said Beam Suntory CEO Matthew Shattock, “particularly that millennial population. It’s also home to some of our progressive customers, to keep bars and restaurants in such a trend-forward city in Chicago with its food and beverage culture. And also it’s a great place to bring our talent together.”