Pernod Ricard to Bottle Malibu Rum in Fort Smith

Pernod Ricard to Bottle Malibu Rum in Fort Smith
Malibu Rum

Pernod Ricard USA of New York announced Monday that it will expand its Fort Smith production facility in order to bottle its Malibu Rum brand sold to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended the announcement and said the agreement between Pernod Ricard and Wal-Mart "represents the type of creative collaboration that will further boost the economy."

Pernod Ricard said the expansion would mean an extra 6,000 man-hours at the plant in the coming year, but didn't specify how many new employees that would translate to.

About 200 people work at the Fort Smith plant currently, Pernod Ricard said.

"[Pernod Ricard] welcomes Walmart's commitment to our business and looks forward to expanding our work together in the years ahead," said Fort Smith plant Managing Director Melissa Hanesworth, who added that the expansion would create jobs with local suppliers as well.

Wal-Mart officials said the announcement was part of its "Made in the USA" program to bring more manufacturing of goods Walmart sells back to the United States. Pernod Ricard is a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard SA, the world's second-largest producer of wines and spirits.

The Fort Smith plant produces about 5 million cases of spirits annually for sale in the U.S. and 40 countries. Products include Seagram's Gin, Kahlua Liqueur and Smithworks Vodka in addition to Malibu Rum.