Huge French wine and spirits multinational, second only to the US multinational Diageo. The picture shows the head office in Paris. The origin of the company lies in the well-known aniseed spirit. It is based on the fruit of the badian tree, known as star anise, which is native to the border region between China and Vietnam. The essential oil (anethole) distilled from it is needed to produce Pernod. One kilogram of anethole is obtained from about 100 kg of the fruit. Anethole is then mixed with various herbs such as fennel, coriander and mint and distilled again to achieve absolute purity. The finished essence is then mixed with sugar, water and triple distilled alcohol. In France, spirits distilled from various raw materials and then flavoured with aniseed are called "anisée". Spirits produced from the basic substance aniseed are called pastis. These are Pastis 51 (produced since 1951) and Ricard.
The inventor of Pernod is the French-born Dr. Ordinaire, who emigrated to Switzerland during the French Revolution. With the help of wormwood, fennel and aniseed he developed a recipe for an invigorating aniseed drink. In 1797 he sold it to a certain Major Dubied, who then founded an industrial absinthe distillery in Switzerland with his son-in-law Henri-Louis Pernod (1776-1851). The drink became immensely popular and became world famous under the new brand name Pernod. Henri-Louis Pernod founded a second distillery in Pontalier and the company Pernod Fils in 1805. Pernod experienced its absolute heyday in the middle of the 19th century. However, at that time it still contained absinthe and had a high alcohol content of 65 to 75% vol. In this form it became a cult drink among French artists.
They also developed a famous absinthe ritual. A glass filled with Pernod was filled with water poured over a perforated spoon with a piece of sugar on top. The mixture became popular under the name "La fee verte" (Green Fairy). When mixed with water, as with all aniseed drinks, a milky discolouration is produced, the so-called louche-effect. In 1915 prohibition was imposed on the production and sale of Pernod. The company had to be closed. But already in 1920 the Pernod was legalized again, but in a strongly defused form. It was not allowed to contain absinthe any more and the alcohol content was strongly reduced, today it has about 40% vol. Apart from that, the original recipe, which is secret until today, has been preserved. The Pernod now became the national drink of the French, so to speak. It is also an important ingredient in many cocktails.
In 1975 the merger of the two French Pastis empires Pernod and Ricard took place. The head office is in Paris, but bases all over the world have been added through the purchase of numerous companies and brands. The beginning was in 1989 with the purchase of the Australian company Orlando with the famous branded wine Jacob's Creek. In connection with this, a number of other Australian wineries and brands were incorporated. These include Carrington, Coolabah, Gramp's, Morris, Poets Corner, Plantaganet, Richmond Grove, Wickham Hill and Wyndham. Finally, to crown it all, in 2005 the British competitor Allied Domecq was bought up for € 10.7 billion. Amongst others, the New Zealand company Multi Montana and other New Zealand wineries and brands were added. These include Church Road, Corbans, Framingham, Lindauer, Longridge, Saints, Stoneleigh, Tamaki and Triplebank. Some of these operations only exist as brands, as production has been concentrated in fewer locations.
The wine portfolio also includes Domecq Bodegas (12 wineries in Spain), Balbi, Etchart and Graffigna (Argentina), Almaden (Brazil), Georgia Wine & Spirits (Georgia), and Long Mountain (South Africa). In the course of the break-up of Allied Domecq, the Domecq brand and the numerous Domecq sherry and brandy brands were also acquired. At the beginning of 2008, the sherry and brandy brands were sold to the Spanish beverage multinational Osborne; the Domecq brand remains in the possession of Pernod Ricard. The ownership also includes the two champagne brands Mumm and Perrier-Jouët. The port wine and sherry brand Sandeman (Sogrape) has worldwide distribution rights.
In 1988 the Multi Irish Distillers was bought with all the Irish whisky distilleries producing at that time. It continued with the Armenian brandy factory Yerevan Brandy Company in 1998 and the spirits division of Seagram in 2001, thus the empire also includes a wide range of important spirits and liqueur brands. These include Ballantines, Beefeater, Becherovka, Byrrh, Chivas Regal, Clan Campbell, Dubonnet, Four Roses, Glendronach, Grappa Fior di Vite, Havana Club, Hiram Walker, Jameson, Janeiro Cachaça, Kahlua, Lillet, Malibu, Martell, Olmeca, Pernod, Ramazzotti, Ricard, Seagram's, Stolichnaya, Tia Maria and Wild Turkey. In 2010, the giant group employed more than 18,000 people worldwide and had a sales volume of € 3.8 billion. See also under Globalization and the world's largest wine companies.