Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek bourbons will soon have a second home in Japan. Beam, the owner of the whiskeys and the world’s fourth-biggest liquor company by sales, has reached a deal to be purchased by Osaka’s Suntory, a family-owned liquor company that’s No. 15 worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reports. The $13.6 billion cash deal is poised to be the third biggest the liquor industry has ever seen, as well as the third-biggest overseas buy by a Japanese firm.
The sale comes as bourbon undergoes a renaissance, the Journal notes: For the first time in almost four decades, US production surpassed 1 million barrels in 2012—thanks in part, perhaps, to Mad Men. Beam is the second-biggest whiskey maker in the US, after Brown-Forman Corp., maker of Jack Daniel’s. Until late 2011, it was a part of Fortune Brands, which also owns Master locks and Moen faucets. The company’s management will continue from Chicago, says Suntory, whose controlling family is Japan’s second-richest, with a net worth of $10.7 billion, Forbes reports. (Read more Jim Beam stories.)