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Southern forms new distribution unit for Bacardi

Leading US distribution firm Southern Wine & Spirits of America has created a new network to handle Bacardi’s portfolio of brands.

Newly formed Transatlantic Spirits has been created to support Bacardi USA’s regional distribution strategy

Transatlantic Spirits will be responsible for supporting Bacardi USA – the Bermuda-based firm’s importing and distribution arm.

Last month, Southern Wine & Spirits announced its intention to merge with fellow US distributor Glazer’s Inc, creating Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, the largest drinks distribution company in the US which will handle Bacardi’s US business.

However, until the merger is completed as expected in the second quarter of 2016, Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer’s will serve Bacardi separately.

Transatlantic Spirits will be led by Steve Cohen, who has taken on the role of executive vice president and managing director of the division.

Cohen moved from his position general manager of international business at Glazer’s to Southern, where he will report to the group’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Brad Vassar.

Transatlantic Spirits will officially launch when Southern begins dual distribution alongside the “incumbent distributors” for Bacardi USA on 1 March. Southern and Glazer’s will begin exclusive distribution for Bacardi USA on 1 April.

“Transatlantic Spirits will be an exciting new business relationship with Bacardi USA,” said Wayne E. Chaplin, president and CEO of Southern Wine & Spirits.

“As we focus on building a world-class organisation to ensure the division’s success, we are delighted that Steve Cohen, who has more than 20 years of cross-functional and diverse geographical sales experience, will be leading Transatlantic Spirits.

“With Steve’s experience and leadership, our new division is well on its way toward a successful future.”

Cohen will be joined on the Transatlantic Spirits leadership team by Chris Minielly, who will serve as senior vice president, commercial strategy, and Kathleen Procario, who will serve as the division’s national talent management director.

It was announced earlier this month that Southern Wine & Spirits had acquired Nebraska-based spirits wholesaler Sterling Distributing Company.

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