On Monday, Beam Inc., the makers of American whiskeys and bourbons like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, announced an agreement to be acquired by Japanese company Suntory.
The deal, pegged at $13.6 billion, will include all of Beam Inc.’s bourbons and whiskeys—Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Basil Hayden's, Knob Creek, Booker's, Baker's and Canadian Club—as well as other beverages, including Courvoisier cognac, Sauza tequila and Pinnacle vodka. The Los Angeles Times reported the sale is slated for the second quarter of 2014.
Beam announced that the brand will still be headquartered in Chicago with its current staff in place rather than in Osaka, Japan, where Suntory operates. Beam Inc. said its products, especially the beloved Jim Beam which is made of corn and distilled in Kentucky, will not be altered in any way.
"It's business as usual," Beam spokesman Clarkson Hine said in a statement, adding its soon-to-be-parent company Suntory wants the company to "keep doing what we're doing." Suntory President and Chairman Nobutada Saji said the acquisition will increase global growth for the company, most famous for its cameo in “Lost in Translation.”
The only change, Slate pointed out, is higher prices for Beam Inc. bourbons if there are more imports to China.
Nevertheless, Americans are up in arms over the acquisition and have taken to Twitter to express their rage that their favorite bourbons are “no longer American.” Time magazine did an online article of five bourbon alternatives "if the Suntory deal takes the patriotic flavor out of Beam whiskies for you." Even comedian Ron White told TMZ: "It’s a goddamn shame! There’s not too many things American these days…hot dogs, maybe, and bourbon. But them selling outside the United States is disappointing."
Here are some of the angriest tweets we saw out there.
I'll never drink Jim Beam or Maker's Mark again. Liquor produced by a Japanese company shouldn't be allowed to be called bourbon. #Shameful
— Lori (@88NASCARNurse) January 14, 2014
Jim Beam and Maker's Mark will now be owned by a Japanese company!! My bourbon better not taste like saké... I could not be more serious.
— Allen Norris (@allencnorris) January 14, 2014
Jim Beam, thanks for selling out to the Japanese. Now American customers will choose another brand. #loyalty
— Michael Falwell (@_black_pug) January 14, 2014
— Tommy Dullaghan (@tdfromnyc) January 14, 2014
In the most un-American move since the electric car, Jim Beam has been sold to Japan.
— Kevin Cotton Higley (@kevinhigley) January 14, 2014
Jim beam just sold to a Japanese company... What the hell is wrong with the world!?
— Josh Doyle (@LivetotrapDoyle) January 14, 2014
Makers Mark and Jim Beam are now owned by Japanese companies...looks like it's all Jack from here on out.
— Nate Schrock (@NateSchrock) January 14, 2014
Jim Beam sold to Japanese company. I don't even drink, but it doesn't get much more un-American than that
— Justin Byrd (@justinwbyrd) January 14, 2014
Jim beam,makers mark. Knob creek I'll miss y'all. Selling out to Japanese company makes my bourbon choices easier. I won't choose yours....
— Kyle R. Fraliex (@ky77guy) January 14, 2014
— Crystal Theriot (@NCCrystalG) January 13, 2014
I'm ashamed to be a Kentuckian today -- Japan's Suntory To Buy Maker Of Jim Beam, Maker's Mark http://t.co/ijZDVoGq7S
— Cody Ray (@Cody_Ray25) January 13, 2014
I cannot believe it, Jim Beam is selling out to the Japs, time to switch brands of whiskey.
— Jim Land (@JimLand2) January 14, 2014
They sold Jim Beam to the Japanese Why would you even want that Japan all you've contributed is creepy porn
— Skyler Workman (@artyomDW) January 14, 2014
— Aaron Colborn (@aaron_colborn) January 14, 2014