Sol architect departs as merger is secured

Maison Caurette chief executive and founder Harry Drnec is the sole casualty of the company’s merger with Latchford Wine Holdings this week.

Drnec, who set up the beer distribution company in 1989, was responsible for the introduction of premium beers such as Sol and Miller Genuine Draft in the UK. The firm, however, has been making losses of 2m a year.

Drnec, who was packing up his office on Monday, said he was pleased the company was able to put together a package with Latchford but admitted that he was “disappointed” to be leaving.

“I would rather be leading the company into a new lease of life, but the reality is that it can’t be run by two people,” he said.

The new holding company is called the Dolomore Group, made up of three companies: Rawlings Voight, which specialises in importing beer; Michael Druit Agencies, which imports wine; and Ebury Caurette, the combined London wholesale operation.

Jon Pither remains chairman of Ebury Caurette but the new group managing director of Dolomore is Latchford’s chairman and managing director Christopher Townsend.

Maison Caurette marketing director Catherine Blackburn becomes group marketing director.

The merger gives the new company a combined turnover of 50m. A spokesman for Dolomore says the company represents “the strongest wine and beer wholesale and sales distribution firm within the M25”.

Drnec says he has “new fish to fry” which includes the distribution of the alcoholic lemonade Mrs Pucker’s Citrus he launched this month (MW August 18).

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