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Beam Suntory Brands

Beam Suntory makes big SA distribution play

The company says that the purchase, for an undisclosed sum, marks the exit of Cyprus-based FIX Wines & Spirits from its JV in the country. ABV Brands has been Beam Suntory’s South African distributor since it was formed in 2010 by FIX and local entrepreneurs Ross Calow and Daniel Hawkins.

The remaining 50% will continue to be held by ABV Brands’ co-founders and management team, with Calow and Hawkins set to remain as joint MDs.

Albert Baladi, international president at Beam Suntory, said: “The African spirits market has phenomenal growth potential for Beam Suntory. This partnership gives us a beachhead, and we will continue to look for opportunities to become a key player in Sub-Saharan Africa by expanding our footprint, growing our brands and securing strong routes to market.”

Igor Boyadjian, MD of FIX’s Middle East partnership with Edrington, added: “We now feel it is time for ABV Brands to play in a different league, so we are delighted to pass the baton to Beam Suntory to define a new and even more ambitious vision for the business.”

As well as Beam Suntory’s and Edrington’s brands, ABV Brands also handles Berry Brothers & Rudd’s spirits portfolio in South Africa. The company has a distribution presence in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.

Among Suntory’s extensive brand inventory are the likes of Jim Beam Bourbon, Courvoisier Cognac, Teacher’s Whisky, Canadian Club Whisky, PInnacle Vodka and Gilbey’s Gin.