Distil reveals business remodel
Red Leg Spiced Rum owner Distil has appointed Alex Baker as commercial director, a new role created as the company remodels for accelerated growth.
Having previously worked for Nestle Purina, Baker moved into the drinks industry with an appointment at William Grant & Sons, where he led the commercial delivery of key retail partners including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose, building long-term, profit growth for brands such as Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s and Sailor Jerry.
He most recently held the position of business unit controller, grocery, e-commerce, convenience and discounters at Hi-Spirits, where he was responsible for leading a team and delivering off-trade performance across a broad portfolio, including Distil brands.
Don Goulding, executive chairman Distil, commented: “We are excited to welcome Alex Baker to the team in the newly created role of commercial director, directly responsible for all sales across domestic and international markets.
“His wide experience within the premium spirits market and close knowledge of our brands and customers is invaluable to help drive our business forward and deliver strong results to support our growth ambitions.
“Alex will play a pivotal role in delivering Distil’s growth ambitions as it remodels its business. He will be responsible for directly managing major UK off-trade customers, as well as leading the continued drive to expand and open new export markets.”
New UK distributor
The announcement has been made in conjunction with the news that Distil will be entering a new distribution agreement with Marussia Beverages UK, following the decision to withdraw its portfolio of spirits from long-term UK distributor, Hi-Spirits.
The new partnership will come into effect on 1 October 2022.
The Marussia team will be responsible for managing key national and regional retail accounts, as well as playing a key role in successful new product development.
Trevenon Weeks, managing director of Marussia Beverages UK, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Distil across its brands which complement our existing portfolio.
“We are particularly excited to be adding Blackwoods to the portfolio at such a significant time for the brand. The launch of the new vintage and build of its new brand home on the Ardgowan Estate, which is progressing apace, provides us with a fantastic opportunity to help shape the future of the brand.
Last December, Ardgowan submitted a new planning application for its whisky distillery and visitor centre. The site will include the build of a standalone Blackwoods Gin facility following an up to £5 million (US$7m) investment from Distil.
Goulding added: “This significant change represents part of a wider business remodel for Distil. Providing undistracted focus on Distil’s portfolio of brands, it will help us to manage cost increases more easily, and better serve our customers to deliver accelerated growth plans.”