Amber Beverage Group acquires UK distributorBy Owen Bellwood
Amber Beverage Group (ABG) has acquired 100% of UK distributor Cellar Trends as it seeks to become a “truly global” spirits group.
Luxembourg-based ABG first acquired a stake in Cellar Trends in May 2017. In 2018 the company increased its ownership to 70%.
Seymour Ferreira, CEO of ABG, said: “We are an ambitious company and we are expecting Cellar Trends to continue growing until it can become a major player in the UK market.
“By adding Cellar Trends to our powerful team, we are not only gaining their experience of serving all sectors of the UK drinks trade but also diversifying our corporate DNA. Adding Cellar Trends to ABG will help us grow into a truly global beverage company.”
Established in 1999, Cellar Trends has added a number of new brands to its portfolio in recent years, including alcohol-free “spirit” Fluère and Violet Fog Gin.
“Being 100% owned by Amber will give us access to things we wouldn’t have previously been able to do,” said Geoff Watts, managing director of Cellar Trends.
“Amber Beverage Group is a very acquisitive company and we don’t know what may come along, but they are a large multinational and we have been a more UK-centric business so there are two different styles of operation – but we will try to stay as close to our roots and our heritage as we can in terms of how we approach our customers and our suppliers.”
Cellar Trends took over distribution of ABG’s Moskovskaya in 2017. The company also distributes its Riga Black Balsam and Cross Keys Gin.
“We clearly want to grow our business,” said Watts. “When we were working with Jägermeister we had sales of a hundred million, and one of our objectives over the coming years is to get back up to those levels, either through organic growth or through new brands joining the portfolio.
“Amber Beverage Group’s brands will play a key part in that, particularly with Moskovskaya in the vodka market and Rooster Rojo in Tequila. They are brands that are smaller at the moment but we have big ambitions and plans to push those forwards.”
ABG operates internationally from its head office in Luxembourg and through its production and distribution companies in Russia, Mexico, the UK, Australia and the Baltics.
According to Ferreira, the acquisition of Cellar Trends could allow ABG to be “more in control” of its destiny as Brexit unfolds.
He said: “None of us really know what Brexit will bring at present time. I suppose we are able to be a little bit more in control of our destiny as Brexit unfolds, so to some extent it could be true that we are now better prepared – but I don’t know.
“Having our own team, having experts on the ground communicating so that we really know what is going on, will certainly help us manage Brexit, whatever happens. That wasn’t the reason behind this acquisition but it is one thing we will have to deal with.”