Our Strategy

We build friendships both inside and outside our company, and we value these relationships as a source of guidance and a means to help achieve more collectively than we can on our own. This holistic view of how we engage with all our stakeholders is key to our Building Forever strategy, which provides a foundation for future growth. An important component of our endurance and success is considering our performance in terms of both what we achieve and how we achieve it.

— Paul C. Varga, Chairman & CEO


Brown-Forman is one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies and among the top 10 global spirits companies. Our company was founded in 1870 in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, by George Garvin Brown. His original brand, old forester® Kentucky straight bourbon whisky, was America’s first bottled bourbon. Today, our portfolio of more than 30 brands is sold in approximately 160 countries across the globe, and we employ more than 4,400 people on six continents.

As a family-controlled business we have always been guided by strong values in everything we do and take great care as we grow our company. Building on our rich heritage, our future successes will be founded on corporate responsibility, commitment to our craft, innovation, long-term orientation, and investment in our talented people.

Download our full Corporate Responsibility Report 2015-16 >


Our commitment to corporate responsibility is intrinsically linked to our values, guiding our decisions about the business and the way we do it. Adhering to our values means ensuring that we promote responsible consumption of our brands, provide a safe, inclusive, and engaging workplace for our employees, protect the environment, and make a positive impact in our communities – especially in our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Our Kentucky roots also influence us across our global business. We know what it means to be deeply committed to a community, and we strive to bring that same spirit to other locations where we have a strong presence. We are achieving our global ambition for responsibility through local partnerships that can scale up to address social and environmental problems around the world.

We cannot achieve our purpose of enriching life and building forever alone. We rely on the insights, expertise, and feedback of others to learn, challenge ourselves, and inform our corporate responsibility strategy. Partners enable us to expand and amplify the important work of promoting responsible consumption and reducing harmful drinking. By working in partnership with employees, non-profits, customers, and peers, we increase our impact.

Download our full Corporate Responsibility Report 2015-16 >


Guided by integrity, respect, trust, teamwork, and excellence, we are committed to sound governance and ethical behavior in the countries where we operate.

The Brown-Forman board of directors has ultimate responsibility for the overall performance of the company and oversight of the executive leadership team. In Fiscal 2015, the board of directors comprised 12 directors, six of whom were independent. The board works closely with our senior management team to embed sound governance practices into our operations and deliver long-term value to our stakeholders.