By James Wells in Düsseldorf and Andrew Starke
Brown Brothers has confirmed it will close its London office on June 30 and appoint the PLB group as distributor, with new arrangements also being finalised closer to home.
The reason for the decision is believed to be caused by the increasing value of the Australian dollar increasing overheads as well as to the changing dynamics of the UK market.
Current European sales and marketing director, Gail Gilbert, will continue with the business after the transition to PLB in a new role as European export manager.
"This is an important decision from a commercial point of view," Gilbert told TheShout.
"It is sad that we have had to close the office and lose some people. While we have lost some control of the brand and its destiny, the PLB move means the brand will survive in the UK," she said.
PLB Group currently distributes four other Australian brands including Evans and Tate, First Step, Geoff Merrill and Zilzie.
In other Brown Brothers news, the company has announced its intention to split the distribution of Devil’s Corner and Tamar Ridge in Australia.
This follows Brown Brothers acquisition of the Tamar Ridge business late last year.
Fine Wine Partners will retain ongoing distribution rights to the Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard range, while Brown Brothers will utilise their own network to take Devils Corner to market.
This arrangement will take effect from July 1, 2011.
“I would like to sincerely thank the Fine Wine Partners team for their efforts in building Devil’s Corner into one of the most successful Tasmanian wine brands over the past 10 years,” said Brown Bothers CEO, Roland Wahlquist.
“Their involvement goes back to day one for this brand. Brown Brothers is very excited to be taking on the distribution, which will also utilise our Wine Fusion network on the east coast, and MGM in the west.”