By Andy Young

While keen to avoid suspicions of an April Fools' Day joke, the Bacardi Lion joint venture has ended and Bacardi-Martini Australia (BMA) officially launches today.

BMA now becomes a 100 per cent owned, standalone subsidiary of the global Bacardi company, the largest family-owned spirits company in the world. BMA's managing director Denis Brown said that while some things behind the scenes will change, for customers and consumers there will be very little difference.

Brown told TheShout: "From the outside not much changes other than our name – same brands, same people, however behind the scenes we are shaking things up in true cocktail style to ensure we develop a culture that is entrepreneurial, with a strong sense of team and that adds value to our consumers and trade partners."

Bacardi and BMA will continue to engage with bartenders through the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition and here in Australia the company will be focusing on its portfolio of premium cocktail brands.

Brown added: "As a small player it is important we do a few things well. Our focus is on strengthening our three core trademarks in Bacardi, Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire through creating memorable experiences."

With Bacardi, that focus will see BMA continue to educate consumers about the family of rums it has available, in particular with the national launch of its premium spiced rum offering, Bacardi Fuego.

BMA will also focus on the luxury credentials of its other brands with the super-premium expressions of Star of Bombay and Grey Goose VX, with Brown promising, "we have big plans for 2016".

The launch of BMA has come about as a result of the Bacardi and Lion joint venture coming to an end after 13 years, a move that was first announced over 18 months ago. Brown also thanked Lion for its support over the time of the partnership.

"We would like to thank all the Lion team for their support over the past 13 years," Brown said. "It is time to go our own way, and we will continue to enjoy their beers when the moment presents."

Lion's beer, spirits and wine Australia managing director, James Brindley told TheShout: "We have enjoyed working with the Bacardi team for more than a decade and are proud of the achievements of our joint venture. We wish them every success in the future."

BMA launches today and customers can still keep in touch with their current Bacardi sales contacts or contact the new customer care centre.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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