Distell boosts USA footprint in major deal with Terlato Wine Group
The JSE-listed Distell Group is set to substantially boost its profile in the USA, where it has established a joint venture with a leading player in the wine and spirits industry to maximise the distribution and sales of some of its top brands.
The South African-based company with a portfolio of multi-national brands trading on every continent has signed a strategic deal with the prestigious family-owned Terlato Wine Group. Terlato represents over 70 wines from 12 countries, controls 20% of the wine segment retailing in the USA at US$20 and above, and is fast expanding its specialty spirits portfolio.
The two companies are merging their spirits interests in the USA to create a combined Terlato Artisan Spirits division. Owned equally by the two parties, the joint venture will be led by Terlato CEO, William Terlato, in the interim, until a CEO for the spirits division is appointed. It will operate as an independent commercial division within the Terlato Wine Group. The new entity will begin trading from February 2016, servicing spirits markets across the USA from its base in the Chicago area in Illinois.
Commenting on the move, Steven Nathan, MD Distell International, said the combined operation would not only strengthen both companies in the highly competitive USA spirits market, but it would also set them up for long-term growth in the USA.
"We are very excited by the development and believe that the new operation establishes us as an important and relevant USA player in the artisan spirits business and presents us with a great opportunity to grow."
William Terlato said the deal marked a transformation of his company's spirits business and the evolution of its position in the spirits industry. “Distell brings a portfolio of world-class spirits brands that complement our own Terlato Artisan Spirits portfolio.”
Distell brands involved in the deal are the single malts from its Scotch whisky portfolio Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Ledaig and Deanston, as well as blended scotch Black Blottle, heritage cognac brand Bisquit, and the South African-born brands Amarula and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky. Terlato Artisan Spirits already represents a selection of specialty spirits, including Adelphi Scotch, Marnier Cognac, Langley's London No 8 Gin, Riazul Blue Agave Tequila, Tigre Blanc Vodka, Don Pancho Origenes Rum, Tiramisu Liqueur and Nonino's Amaro and grappa range.
Nathan also confirmed Distell had also inked a long-term agreement with the Terlato Wine Group to capitalise on the growing international interest in the South African wine category. The USA company would import four of its key wine brands - Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, Plaisir de Merle and Two Oceans.
Terlato said: “These wines are an excellent addition to our portfolio. We’ve been a big believer in South African wines for years. There is major untapped marketplace potential for high-quality South African wines, and we’re looking forward to working with our partners at Distell to bring these exceptional wines to more USA consumers.”