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Edrington and Lucas Bols expand joint venture

The Macallan owner Edrington and Dutch firm Lucas Bols have extended their joint venture to cover distribution in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Edrington owns Macallan whisky
Edrington said Brussels is key to its strategy for Scotch whisky brand The Macallan

Edrington and Lucas Bols first collaborated in 2009 to form a joint venture, called Maxxium Netherlands.

The partnership has been expanded to create a new joint venture in Belgium and Luxembourg – Maxxium Belux.

The new company will distribute Lucas Bols’ and Edrington’s portfolios of brands in Belgium and Luxembourg.

It will begin operating on 1 October 2021, initially with Lucas Bols’ portfolio, while the Edrington range will transition from its current distributor, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, to Maxxium Belux in January 2022.

The new alliance is in line with Lucas Bols’ asset-light business model, which aims to boost distribution without the need for additional financial investments.

Furthermore, it will allow the firm to serve customers across the Benelux region with a single distribution company.

The joint venture will strengthen Lucas Bols’ presence in the region, enabling the firm to ‘leverage synergies’ for its key brands in Belgium and Luxembourg, including Bols Cocktails, Passoã and Pisang Ambon.

Maxxium Belux will be based in Brussels, with central back-office support from the existing Netherlands joint venture in Amsterdam. This setup will implement cost and scale efficiencies and reduce complexity.

‘Synergy opportunities’

Etienne Hoek, managing director of Maxxium, said: “I am incredibly excited to work with Lucas Bols, Edrington and my leadership team to bring the expertise built by Netherlands spirits market leader Maxxium to Belgium and Luxembourg.

“We now have a unique position: a strong base in the Netherlands, synergy opportunities for the three countries and local expertise per area, that we also expect other brand partners to benefit from.”

Through Maxxium Belux, Maxxium Netherlands and Lucas Bols’ US subsidiary, the Dutch firm will control distribution of approximately 40% of its revenue, including the route to market in the wider Benelux market and North America.

Huw Pennell, Edrington’s regional managing director, Europe, added: “Brussels is an important element of our European key city strategy for The Macallan and we are excited by the opportunities we see for the entire Edrington portfolio in Belgium.”

Edrington saw revenue decrease by 15% in the year ending 31 March 2021.

Earlier this year, Edrington and Beam Suntory agreed to swap equity stakes in their jointly-owned distribution firms in the UK and Spain.

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