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Brown–Forman Corporation
IndustryAlcoholic drink
Founded1870; 152 years ago (1870)
FounderGeorge Garvin Brown
HeadquartersLouisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$5.081 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended April 30, 2022)[1]
Increase US$1.166 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended April 30, 2021)[1]
Increase US$0.903 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended April 30, 2021)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$6.522 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended April 30, 2021)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$3.963 Billion (Fiscal Year Ended April 30, 2021)[1]
Number of employees
5,200[2] (2022)

The Brown–Forman Corporation is an American company, one of the largest in the spirits and wine business. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, it manufactures several well known brands throughout the world, including Jack Daniel's, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, GlenDronach, BenRiach, Glenglassaugh, Finlandia, Herradura, Korbel, and Chambord. Brown–Forman formerly owned Southern Comfort and Tuaca before selling them off in 2016.

As of fiscal 2016 the company had sales of $3.08 billion.[3] The roughly 40 members of the Brown family, cousins that are descendants of founder George Garvin Brown, control more than 70% of the voting shares[4] and in 2016 had a net worth of $12.3 billion.[5]


The company was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown, a young pharmaceuticals salesman in Louisville, who had the then-novel idea of selling top-grade whiskey in sealed glass bottles.[6]

In 1890, the organisation's name was changed to Brown–Forman and Company in order to reflect the partnership. Despite the prohibitionist movement in America, the company prospered.[7]

George Forman died in 1901, and Brown purchased his stock. Shorty after this, Brown–Forman was incorporated.[8]

In 1904, Owsley Brown, George Garvin Brown's son, came into the business. When George Garvin Brown died at the age of 70 in 1917, his son, Owsley, took over as president of Brown–Forman.[9]

With the onset of Prohibition in the United States, Brown–Forman was granted one of six national licenses to produce medicinal whiskey.[10]

In 2005, the company sold its Lenox division (one of the oldest and most famous manufacturers of fine china in the United States), which had been acquired in 1983, to Department 56 for $160 million. The income generated by the sale was distributed to the shareholders in the form of a one time special dividend.[11]

Part of the company's Louisville complex

In 2006, the company acquired the Chambord liqueur brand (a super-premium black raspberry liqueur produced in France) for $255 million.[12][13]

In 2007, the company acquired Tequila Herradura, a Mexican company that produces the Casa Herradura tequila brand (a super-premium tequila produced in Mexico) for $776 million,[14] while it also sold its Hartman Luggage division (one of the leaders in the travel goods industry and originally a subdivision of Lenox), to Clarion Capitol Partners. One year later, it sold the Bolla and Fontana Candida Italian wine brands to Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV). The terms of neither sale were disclosed.[15]

In 2011, the company sold Fetzer Vineyards and associated brands to Chilean wine producer Viña Concha y Toro S.A. for $238 million.[16]

In 2016, the Southern Comfort and Tuaca brands were sold to Sazerac Company for $543 Million.[17]

In 2016, Brown–Forman also reached an agreement to purchase The BenRiach Distillery Company Limited for approximately £285 million. The purchase brought GlenDronach, BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh to Brown–Forman's portfolio.[18]

In 2020, the company sold the Early Times and Canadian Mist brands to Sazerac Company.[19]

The company is a sponsor of the Brown–Forman Retailer of the Year awards given by the American Beverage Licensees.[20]


Brown–Forman has two classes of common stock, both of which are traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. The Class A shares carry voting privileges and are thinly traded due to control by the Brown family while the Class B shares are non-voting stock.


American whiskey[edit]

  • Old Forester Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey (the first bottled bourbon brand sold exclusively in sealed bottles and the oldest bourbon continuously on the market – first bottled in 1870)[21]
  • Woodford Reserve Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey[22]
  • Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey[23]

Canadian whisky[edit]

  • Collingwood, blended Canadian whisky[24]

Scotch whisky[edit]




  • Fords Gin



Ready-to-drink coolers[edit]

  • Little Black Dress[27]

Environmental impact[edit]

In 2009, Newsweek magazine ranked Brown–Forman in their "Green Rankings"[28] which examines 500 of the largest corporations on their environmental track record. Brown–Forman was ranked 63rd out of 500 overall, and was ranked 3rd in the food and beverage industry sector.[29]


Bribery accusations in China[edit]

In 2011, Brown–Forman was accused of illegally subsidizing its distributors in China, and subsequently delaying payment to them as agreed under contract.[30] The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce fined Brown–Forman 2 million renminbi (US$320,000) for illegal subsidization.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Brown–Forman Corporation 2021 Annual Report" (PDF). April 30, 2021. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  2. ^ "Brown-Forman". Fortune. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Brown–Forman Corp, BF.B:NYQ financials". Financial Times. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "George Garvin Brown IV: A family man rides the bourbon boom". May 1, 2005. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Forbes. "America's Richest Families List 2016 Ranking". Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Scott C. Martin (December 16, 2014). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives. SAGE Publications. pp. 408–. ISBN 978-1-4833-7438-3. Retrieved December 31, 2017. [I]n 1870, whiskey drinks were drawn and sold right out of the barrel. In an innovative marketing move...
  7. ^ "Brown-forman Corp |". Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Brown Forman Cocktail Ingredient Maker". Cocktails. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  9. ^ Craig, Susanne (September 29, 2011). "Owsley Brown II, Liquor Company Chief, Dies at 69 (Published 2011)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  10. ^ Mitenbuler, Reid (May 12, 2015). Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey. p. 185. ISBN 9780670016839.
  11. ^ "ChartEXE: Market Data Aggregation Service". ChartEXE: Market Data Aggregation Service. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  12. ^ Brown–Forman Adds Chambord to Liquor Cabinet, New York Times Dealbook, March 16, 2006.
  13. ^ Brown–Forman Completes Chambord Acquisition, press release, June 1, 2006.
  14. ^ Chris Mercer (November 29, 2007). "US: Casa Herradura helps offset costs for Brown–Forman Q2: Beverage News & Comment". Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  15. ^ "Brown-Forman to Sell Bolla and Fontana Candida Italian Wine brands To Gruppo Italiano Vini". RTTNews. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  16. ^ "Concha y Toro Buying Fetzer for $238 Million". Wine Spectator. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  17. ^ "Southern Comfort brand sold for $543m". The Telegraph. January 14, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  18. ^ "Brown–Forman to Acquire the Glendronach, Benriach, AND Glenglassaugh Single Malt Scotch Whiskies". April 27, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  19. ^ "Brown-Forman sells Early Times and Canadian Mist". Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  20. ^ "Brown–Forman Retailers of the Year – American Beverage Licensees". Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "Love Life. Sip Responsibly". Old Forester. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  22. ^ "Woodford Reserve". Woodford Reserve. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  23. ^ "Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey". Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  24. ^ "Collingwood the toast of the town — new Canadian whiskey creates a buzz on Georgian Bay".
  25. ^ "Korbel Champagne Cellars – Welcome". Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  26. ^ "Herradura Tequila, since 1870". Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  27. ^ "Brown Forman targets young women with new 20% abv vodka drink". April 30, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "Newsweek, Greenest Big Companies in America – The 2009 List". Newsweek. September 21, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  29. ^ "Newsweek – Green Ranking – Brown–Forman". Archived from the original on September 25, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  30. ^ "Brown–Forman accused of illegal subsidies in China again". Want China Times. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  31. ^ "Brown–Forman Involved in Bribery Again in Shanghai". SinoCast. Archived from the original on November 18, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013.

External links[edit]