New US drinks import company launches

19th February, 2018 by Amy Hopkins

Two drinks industry veterans have joined forces to launch a new wine and spirits import business in the US, called CompassPoint Imports.

CompassPoint Imports US import distribution

Gary Clayton

The company is the brainchild of Gary Clayton, who has previously worked for Allied Domecq, Pernod Ricard, Rémy Cointreau, Banfi Vintners and Pasternak Wine Imports; and Tom Tesauro, who has spent the last seven years at large volume Massachusetts retail chain Yankee Spirits. Both have worked in the drinks industry for about 25 years.

CompassPoint Import’s spirits portfolio currently consists of JJ Corry Irish whiskey, founded by Ireland’s first modern whiskey bonder last year; and Hepple Gin, an English gin that uses an unusual triple distillation method to extract complex juniper flavours.

Tom Tesauro

The company has also signed agreements with Kingston Wine Estates in Australia, Mooiplaas Wine Estate in South Africa, and Forever Blend in Chile.

“Given the ongoing consolidation in this industry with more brands than the trade can handle, it is imperative that any brand entering the market have that wow factor, a clearly defined point of difference, and a reason to be,” commented Clayton.

“Creating a strong strategic foundation with clearly defined activation programming to drive healthy distribution is the key. Our focus is on brands that have compelling stories that can resonate and connect with both consumers and the trade.”

The US drinks distribution and import channels have become increasingly consolidated in recent years, and towards the end of 2017, industry giants Breakthru Beverage Group and Republic National Distributing Company proposed a merger that would see the creation of a US$12 billion company.

For an in-depth look at the state of the US distribution market, see the February 2017 issue of The Spirits Business magazine, out now.

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