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The spirited billionaire: Bill Goldring’s Sazerac and its latest Irish whiskey play

The owner of US drinks giant Sazerac, which owns a portfolio of brands from Southern Comfort to Paddy, has just bought the Lough Gill Distillery in Sligo for a reported $70 million

Bill Goldring, owner and chairman of Sazerac: his company has just bought Lough Gill Distillery for $70 million. Illustration: Peter Hanan

The way Bill Goldring tells it, the foundations for Sazerac as it is today started with Taaka vodka and the McCarthy hearings in the US. If you’ve never heard of either Sazerac or Taaka – or Goldring for that matter – the liquor industry billionaire gave a decent account of his career and history at a talk at the University of New Orleans in 2013.

In the mid-1950s, Goldring explained, the US was seized by ...