Bushmills Irish whiskey has been sold by Diageo to Mexican liquor company Jose Cuervo for $408 million and Tequila brand Don Julio, which Diageo currently owns 50 percent of.

Jose Cuervo is the oldest tequila company in the world. Juan Domingo Beckmann The firm’s chief executive stated the acquisition of Bushmills is “the most important purchase the company has made.”

“This is a very exciting time for both Bushmills Irish Whiskey and Jose Cuervo. We see this acquisition as a fantastic opportunity to continue to nurture and grow the Bushmills Irish Whiskey brand globally, underpinned by the strong expertise and focus of Jose Cuervo as one of the world’s leading drinks corporations,” he said.

“We see great synergies and similarities between the two brands. Like Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Jose Cuervo is built on a very strong tradition of quality and craftsmanship that dates back over 250 years, so we understand the importance of nurturing and protecting the heritage and quality of a brand and are strongly committed to doing exactly that with Bushmills. Bushmills Irish Whiskey will be in very safe hands,” he added.

The Old Bushmills Distillery, located in County Antrim, was founded in 1608, and attracts around 130,000 visitors per year in addition to producing $100 million worth of whiskey year.

“Bushmills Irish Whiskey is a brand built on great history, heritage and passionate people and has been a cherished part of the Diageo family for more than nine years. During this time we have invested over £80 million to build capacity, infrastructure and maturing inventory at the Distillery, which has supported the continued growth of the brand,” said Colin O’Brien Operations Director, Diageo.

“We are immensely proud of these achievements, and while we recognize that today’s announcement does represent a change for Bushmills we are confident that Jose Cuervo – a company with a proven commitment to its people and to valuing the history and heritage of its brands — will continue to nurture Bushmills in the future,” he added.