NEW YORK — The maker of classic American whiskeys Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark has agreed to be acquired by a Japanese company in a $13.62 billion deal that would create the third-largest global premium spirits business.
Shares of Beam rose nearly 25 percent, to $83.42, on Monday after the company said it had agreed to be purchased by Suntory Holdings, a Japanese beverage company. The combined company would have annual sales of more than $4.3 billion.
The deal follows other recent acquisitions in the alcohol industry, including Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $20.1 billion deal last year to buy the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo that it didn’t already own.
It also comes at a time when the taste for bourbon — a type of American whiskey that is made primarily of corn and is typically distilled in Kentucky — continues to grow domestically and abroad.
In the United States, sales volume for bourbon and Tennessee whiskeys such as Jack Daniel’s has grown 26 percent over the past decade, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, an industry group. Exports of U.S. whiskeys were roughly $1 billion last year, more than double the amount a decade ago.
Demand is so robust that Beam last year considered reducing the alcohol content for Maker’s Mark because of a supply shortage. The company scrapped the idea after a backlash by fans of the higher-end bourbon.
“We’re basically in the middle of a global whiskey renaissance,” said Frank Coleman, a spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council.
Suntory and Beam already have a relationship. Suntory distributes Beam products in Japan. Beam, which is based in Deerfield, Ill., distributes Suntory’s products in Singapore and other Asian markets. Suntory President and Chairman Nobutada Saji said in a statement that the acquisition will help Suntory further its global growth.
Beam spokesman Clarkson Hine said that for now, the deal will result in few changes for fans of Beam’s bourbons. He also said Beam, which was spun off as a stand-alone liquor company in 2011 from Fortune Brands, will keep its current management.
“It’s business as usual,” Hine said, noting that Suntory has indicated that it wants the company to “keep doing what we’re doing.”