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Suntory launches bourbon drink jointly developed with acquired firm

Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, speaks at a product launch event in New York City on March 7, 2019. (Kyodo)

NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- Suntory Holdings Ltd.'s subsidiary Beam Suntory Inc. has introduced a new bourbon drink called "Legent" that merges Kentucky liquor and Japanese brewing techniques.

The product marks a culmination of Suntory Holdings' 2014 acquisition of U.S. distiller Beam Inc., known for such brands as Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, for $16 billion. Beam has since been renamed Beam Suntory and currently places third in the global spirits market and second in the U.S. spirits market.

"Legent is very special to me in that it symbolizes our successful integration as Beam Suntory," Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, said in a product launch event in New York City on Thursday.

Legent will hit the shelves in early March, with each bottle priced at $34.99. The product is hoped to attract younger consumers in the United States, whose taste has been shifting toward spirits over beer and wine.

By 2025, Suntory says it hopes to become the top distilled spirits brand in the United States. The company says 14 percent of its total revenue in 2018 came from the Americas while 59 percent came from Japan.

At the product launch, Niinami introduced the new CEO of Beam Suntory, Albert Baladi, saying, "I have strong confidence that Albert will build on our current momentum to powerfully lead Beam Suntory in its next era."

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