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Ex-Diageo CEO takes stake in Brockmans Gin

Former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh has acquired a stake in British super-premium gin brand Brockmans for an undisclosed sum.

Paul Walsh will help boost Brockmans’ presence in the US

The Spirits Business understands that the deal is for a minority stake in Brockmans Gin. Walsh will also join Brockmans’ advisory board as the brand “finalises a new five-year growth plan designed to double sales”.

Walsh, who was CEO at Johnnie Walker maker Diageo from 2000-2013, will help shape Brockmans’ strategy for the next phase of its development.

The approach will involve expanding the super-premium brand’s international footprint, with a focus on the US.

Brockmans was launched in the UK in 2008, and entered Spain in 2010. It is distilled and bottled in Lancashire.

The brand entered the US market in 2014 growing its presence from New York, New Jersey and New England to states including Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Colorado, Michigan and Illinois this year.

According to Brockmans, the additional states and the appointment of Blue Ridge Spirits and Wine Marketing as its US distributor in September last year, helped boost 2018 sales by 50% in North America, including a “small, but rapidly growing presence in Canada”.

‘Huge potential’

Neil Everitt, Brockmans’ co-founder and chief executive, said: “I am delighted that Paul has agreed to join us on the exciting next leg of our journey.

“His industry knowledge, experience and contacts will help us achieve our ambition of doubling sales and becoming the best super-premium gin business in the world.

“Paul’s success in developing a multi-national business will be particularly relevant as we grow Brockmans’ international presence.

“We still see huge potential in Europe but also in the US, where ultra-premium gin sales grew 25% in 2018.

“The US market is still in its infancy, several years behind established gin drinking countries in Europe such as Spain and the UK. This represents a great opportunity that Paul will help us capitalise on.”

The brand was the UK’s second-largest super-premium gin in 2018, and sixth-largest worldwide, according to Nielsen and IWSR data cited by Brockmans.

Walsh said: “I have watched Brockmans’ progress with admiration, over the past few years, and I look forward to playing a part in the next exciting phase of its growth.”

Brockmans grew revenue by 26% to £10.3 million (US$12.9m) in 2018 driven by the UK, which overtook Spain to become the brand’s biggest market.

Total sales volumes increased 37% to almost 85,000 nine-litre cases, boosted by new listings with UK supermarkets Morrisons, Asda and Co-op.

The brand also entered seven new markets in 2018, including Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Japan, Lebanon, Slovakia and South Africa.

Everitt added: “The second five-year plan was a lot more strategic and saw us grow rapidly into the sixth-largest brand in the category worldwide and the second-biggest not owned by a multinational.

“The willingness of someone of Paul Walsh’s stature in the industry to join the next phase of our growth is a testimony to just how far we have come.”

Earlier this year, Cellar Trends was named the UK distributor of Brockmans Gin.

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