Spirits giants join forces for international venture

Highland Distillers, Remy Cointreau and Jim Beam Brands are to set up a joint venture to handle the distribution and tactical marketing of their brands in all key markets outside the US.

The company, which has yet to be named, will encompass brands such as Remy Martin cognac, Famous Grouse and The Macallan whiskies, Jim Beam bourbon, Cointreau liqueur and Piper Heidsieck champagne. It will have an annual turnover of about 800m and its headquarters will be in Amsterdam.

The venture is the latest example of increasing consolidation in the global spirits industry, which is having to fight falling sales in mature western markets with money-saving alliances and mergers.

As part of the new deal, each of the three parties will contribute about 100m euros in distribution assets.

For Highland Distillers this will include the recently established Highland Distillers Brands subsidiary, which already handles the Highland and Remy brands in the UK.

Tactical marketing, sales and distribution of the combined brands will become the responsibility of the new company. Simon Sanders, director of corporate affairs for Highland Distillers, says control of global strategic marketing will remain with the parent companies.

Highland Distillers says in a statement: “The joint venture will focus on brand building. It is expected to generate substantial synergies, significantly reduce distribution costs and increase sales for each partner.”

The announcement coincides with Highland Distillers half year results, which reveal a six per cent slippage in profits to 23.5m, on turnover down one per cent to 112.4m.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here