Sazerac Company, Inc is a privately held American alcoholic beverage company headquartered in Metairie in the metropolitan area of New Orleans, Louisiana, but with its principal office in Louisville, Kentucky. The company is owned by billionaire William Goldring and his family. As of 2017, it operated nine distilleries, had 2,000 employees, and operated in 112 countries. It is one of the two largest spirits companies in the U.S., with annual revenue of about $1 billion made from selling about 300 mostly discount brands.
The company was founded after the purchase of a bar known as the Sazerac Coffee House in 1869 by Thomas H. Handy. The coffee house itself had been established in 1850. After its purchase, Handy's company began to acquire and market brands of liquor. According to the company, the Sazerac Coffee House had been named after a cocktail called the Sazerac that was created in the mid-1800s by the Creole immigrant Antoine Amédée Peychaud, who operated a pharmacy on Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1838. The company publishes a Sazerac recipe and produces a Peychaud's Bitters named after Peychaud, which is an ingredient in the traditional Sazerac cocktail.
William Goldring began buying shares of the company in 1984, and eventually purchased the entire company.
In 2009, the company's principal office was moved to Louisville, Kentucky, reflecting an increased company focus on bourbon whiskey production. However, the Sazerac Company still maintains an active presence in the New Orleans area, and it also has operations in Carson and Loomis, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; Bardstown, Frankfort, and Owensboro, Kentucky; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Lewiston, Maine; Londonderry, New Hampshire; Newport, Tennessee; and Sergonzac, France.
In 2016, the company had an estimated revenue of $1 billion per year and a market valuation estimate of $4.5 billion. The valuation placed Goldring in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.
In 1989, Sazerac acquired several brands from Seagram: Benchmark, a bourbon, eventually changing its name from "Benchmark" to McAfee's Benchmark; James Foxe Canadian Whisky; Nikolai (vodka); Carstairs Blended Whiskey; Crown Russe, a vodka and gin brand; Dr. McGillicuddy's, a liqueur brand, that included its Fireball Whisky, which was rebranded as Fireball Cinnamon Whisky in 2007; Eagle Rare, a Kentucky straight bourbon whisky.
In 1992, Sazerac acquired the George T. Stagg Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, at which time the company's primary focus became the production of bourbon whiskey, a product that is primarily distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, later changing its name to The Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1999.