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Beam Suntory and Edrington switch distribution firms

Edrington and Beam Suntory have agreed to swap equity stakes in their jointly-owned distributions firms in the UK and Spain.

Macallan Double Cask whiskies
Edrington produces The Macallan single malt whisky

The Macallan owner Edrington will take full ownership of Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, while Beam Suntory will become the owner of Maxxium Spain.

The agreement is effective from 2 August 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

The move will allow both firms to ‘reduce complexity, improve agility, make decisive investments and expand opportunities for employees as both businesses become part of larger international companies’.

In January last year, Beam Suntory’s parent company Suntory acquired a 10% stake in Edrington for an undisclosed sum.

The new agreement will see Edrington-Beam Suntory UK become Edrington UK Distribution, known as Edrington UK.

Edrington UK will work closely with Edrington’s global headquarters in Glasgow to ‘accelerate’ Edrington’s ultra-premium strategy, particularly in London. The move is part of Edrington’s global key city strategy for Scotch whisky brands The Macallan and Highland Park, and Brugal rum.

Following completion of the deal, Edrington will employ more than 1,200 people in the UK, mainly in Scotland, with 35 workers based in London.

Huw Pennell, Edrington’s regional managing director for Europe, said: “As our business sharpens its focus on the rapidly growing opportunities for ultra-premium and prestige spirits, we are excited by the potential to work more closely with the talented Edrington-Beam Suntory UK team to accelerate this strategy while continuing to strengthen our presence of The Famous Grouse in our home market.

“Spain is a priority investment market for Edrington, and we are particularly pleased that this agreement will enable us to continue to work closely with the excellent Maxxium Spain team in Madrid to accelerate the growth of The Macallan in the key cities of Madrid and Barcelona and particularly Brugal rum in its number one international market.”

‘Big ambitions’

The deal also marks the first time that Beam Suntory will have full ownership of its route to market in Spain. Beam Suntory said it will invest in Maxxium Spain’s ‘accelerated growth’ and brand building in the market.

Pryce Greenow, president international and global sales excellence officer, Beam Suntory, added: “We have big ambitions for our portfolio of premium brands, which includes Jim Beam, Larios and DYC. We plan to invest in our people, capabilities and brands to achieve sustainable, long-term growth in Spain.”

Greenow also stressed the importance of the UK market to the company.

Greenow continued: “The UK will always be a priority growth market for us, and London will continue to play a critical role as a global centre of luxury for our premium portfolio, including Maker’s Mark and Sipsmith.”

Both companies will continue to maintain equal stakes in their remaining jointly-owned distribution business, Maxxium Russia.

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